Medical Device Daily Correspondent

ZICHRON YAAKOV, Israel – This country's wealth of exotic technologies in start-up companies that are able to make a worldwide impact prompted Joseph Gilor to mount the Israel Innovation Summit April 14-15 at the Haifa Convention Center.

Gilor, founder and CEO of Olive Bay , told Medical Device Daily: “The meeting provided a platform where Israeli breakthrough technology can be introduced and discussed by top experts, with input from corporate investors and venture capitalists from around the world exchanging views and ideas on how to maximize commercial success.“

“Electronics, materials, nanotechnology, biotech, converge to create integrated medical devices that bring innovative solutions to known health problems,“ said Gilor, who conceived of and brought the gathering to fruition by attracting Elron Electronic Industries (Haifa) and PriceWaterhouseCoopers - Israel (Tel Aviv), plus some two dozen other sponsors. He described Olive Bay as an innovation accelerator, a locator of Israeli life science tech for the investment community, focused on pre-seed through the venture stage.

Uzia Galil, the octogenarian who founded Elron Electronics Industries in 1962, told MDD, after he was awarded the Israel Innovation Award 2006, “The greatest achievements in medicine are now coming from the close integration of electronics, IT and biology. Ultimately we will create a digital-device-based personalized medicine that will allow each patient to be treated from cradle to grave, eliminating treatment errors [due to chart reading or dispensal errors] and optimizing device design for diagnosis and treatment.“

These are the goals of Uzia Initiatives and Management (Matam, Haifa) which he founded in 1999, when he “retired“ from Elron.

Amos Katz, director of cardiology at Barzilai Medical Center (Ashkelon), opened the session, “From Minimal to Non-Invasive Medical Devices,“ by presenting the diagnostic results of CardioMeter, called the world's first cellular medical device by MedicTouch (founded in Tel Aviv, with U.S. headquarters in Houston). This noninvasive finger clip connected to a PDA or PC is used to diagnosis cardiovascular risks based on physiological function.

Gideon Shichman, CEO and chairman of Althera Medical (Tel Aviv) showed its cancer treatment, Diffusing Alpha-emitters Radio-Therapy (DART), expected to enter Phase I clinical trials in early 2007. Althera developed this first-of-a-kind targeting modality to deliver the short-range Alpha particles directly to identifiable solid tumors. Its first application is for patients before deployment of chemotherapy or immune response stimulators after conventional irradiation.

Nathan Sela, CEO of Neurosonix (Or-Yehuda), which uses acoustic radiation forces to noninvasively monitor emboli in circulation, told MDD, “In this way we can protect the brain from embolic stroke during open heart surgery and other cardiological procedures, such as percutaneous cardiological interventions and angiographies.“

Yaron Tal, CEO, Galil Medical , incorporated in 1997 in New York with operations in Boston and its origins retained as an R&D center in Israel, uses minimally invasive temperature-based therapies for treatment of both benign and malignant diseases of the prostate and kidney tumors. Galil's cryotherapy was shown to ablate the tumorous tissue while leaving healthy tissue intact.

Two transdermal drug delivery devices were presented: one minimally invasive, TransPharma Medical's (Lod) ViaDerm system showing its clinical trial effective treatment of osteoporosis with human Parathyroid Hormone 1-34 fragment, (hPTH 1-34); the other in another session on “Nanotechnology Based Medical Devices,“ NanoCyte (Zemach), next to the Sea of Galilee, which presented pre-clinical data on delivery of lidocaine via a jellyfish-derived nano-injection system delivering 200 atmospheres to instantly penetrate skin with microscopic nano-tubes at an acceleration of 40,000 g for fast and painless delivery.

Avigdor Scherz, a professor of plant sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot) presented a treatment device for prostate cancer based on chlorophyll, the green pigment that reacts with sunlight to produce energy in plants. The harmless dye-drug is injected into patients, then “activated“ by nano-lasers inserted into the prostate gland. The chemically modified chlorophyll attacks the blood vessels that feed the tumors, killing the cancerous cells within days.

The technique, in early controlled clinical trials in the University College London and in Canada for patients who have failed radiation therapy, “suggests that it has strong efficacy,“ Scherz told MDD.