Israeli innovation: medical science summit reveals cutting-edge tech of the ‘start-up nation’
The biggest investor event in the Middle East for start up companies has showcased exciting cutting edge medical technologies coming from Israel.
With its focus on sustainability, more than 8,500 people from 80 countries attended the OurCrowd summit in Jerusalem, with around 200 start ups featuring everything from milk made from cow DNA to drones which can help with reforesting.
The tragic death of a nine-year-old boy inspired one start up; the pandemic boosted the health of another. Meanwhile technology which seems to come out of science fiction films – holograms of a patient’s heart and robotic surgeons – are already being used for the most complex of surgeries.
Nicole Lampert travelled to the summit for Jewish News to report on some of the most innovative developments in medical science:
USING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO AUGMENT MEDICINE
MedAware was founded when a nine-year-old Israeli boy was given the wrong drug due to human error. Doctor Gidi Stein was determined to create a computer system which would flag up possible wrong prescriptions to prevent such a tragedy happening again. It has taken ten years but this system which creates an AI ‘safety layer’ which checks a patient’s notes to ensure they are being given the correct medication is already being trialled in American hospitals with the hope that it will eventually become a standard across the world.
Meanwhile, due to rates of diabetes shooting up across the Western world – there are 30million diabetics in the USA alone – DreaMed Diabetes helps get around the problem of not enough specialists being available to help. The system features a digital diabetes expert who can look at a patient’s most up to date data and give a customised treatment plan.
THE NOSE SPRAY WHICH PROTECTS FROM COVID AND THE COMMON COLD
There was a lot of fuss around SaNOtize, which was first created in 2017 by Israeli Dr Gilly Regev in Canada, when it started trials during the heart of the pandemic; its claims of being able to be effective against 90 per cent of viruses and bacterias including Covid 19 seemed incredible. Yet studies have shown that for someone exposed to Covid-19 correct use of the nasal spray would lead to a 75 per cent reduction in the likelihood of infection and a reduced viral load for those who did go down with the virus. The spray, which has the key component of nitric oxide (which has the formula NO, which forms part of the name) is still going through its third round of trials but is already available for sale in Israel and India under the name Envoid and has just won FDA approval to be sold in America
THE HUMANOID ARMS PERFORMING SURGERY
We will never not need surgeons but robots are getting very good at helping them reach places while being minimally invasive. Momentis Surgical uses a machine with two ‘humanoid’ arms which are able to turn 360 degrees, replicating the motions of a surgeon’s shoulder, elbow and wrist joins. Initially deployed for gynecological surgery, the robot requires only a small single incision to carry out a number of operating procedures.
THE END OF THE PLASTER?
Healing wounds is something they’ve had to get particularly good at in Israel and Nanomedic’s futuristic handheld device prints out something called a ‘nanofibrous healing matrix’. Sprayed onto a wound, it creates a see-through weblike plaster which heals the wound and allows the patient to get on with their day to day lives until it is ready to be peeled off.
THE HOLOGRAM HELPING HEART SURGEONS
Scans and ultrasounds already allow surgeons to look into a patients’ body but the frankly incredible interactive holograph display of the HOLOSCOPE means they can see and touch the organ, even slice it in half, as they decide on the best way of performing surgery. Created by hologram expert Shaul Gelman, who spent ten years creating the most advance augmented reality tests for fighter pilots, he turned his expertise into helping the medical profession for RealView Imaging’s HOLOSCOPE. Presently concentrated on heart surgery, the hologram is viewed via a machine which the surgeon sits or stands under, and it is the first medical holography system which allows doctors to interact with the patient’s true anatomy. After a successful trial, is has now been given approval for use in America.
This year conference marks the first OurCrowd event since the Abraham Accords.