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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 20, 2014 PAGE 5B Israelis develop first blood test for breast cancer " Octava Pink, a groundbreaking achievement in cancer detection, follows eight gears of research at EventusDx in Jerusalem. : By Ruthie Blum  Israel21c After eight years of pains- taking research, Israeli life- sciences company Eventus Diagnostics (EventusDx) has produced a blood test for the early detection of breast cancer. The Octava Pink test is now available in Israel and Italy, and is undergoing clinical trials to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. This is the first blood test ever that can reveal cancer, not merely markers that' might indicate Lancer or something else. Its innovation also lies in its examination of antibodies in the blood to pinpoint this specific cancer. Molecular biologist Galit Yahalom, who heads the research team at the Even- tusDx offices and lab, located in Moshav Ora outside of Jerusalem, explains the break- through to ISRAEL21c. "For the last decade, we have known that there is a connection between cancer and the immune system," says Yahalom, a 43-year-old mother of two from Modi'in who has been working on this project since its incep- tion. "We know that it recognizes cancer as an external enemy that must be destroyed. It is possible that each of us has had instances of Lancer we were unaware of, because our immune systems killed it when it was still very small. For whatever reason, the im- mune system of people with cancer is not functioning properly." It was from this angle that Yahalom's 15-strong team of biologists (and a computer expert) attempted to tackle the problem. After collect- ing data from hundreds of healthy women and as many diagnosedwith breast cancer, Yahalom's team looked for the proteins of the immune system responsible for detect- ing both. They also examined immune-system activity in women with ovarian cancer and men and women with intestinal cancer, to see the distinction from those with breast cancer. Yahalom says that compar- ing the panels of elements characteristic of the women with breast cancer to those of healthy women created "pictures" of each group. "Imagine that one is a picture of a flower and the other of a heart," she says. "Yours might be a flower with four petals instead of five, and another woman's might be a heart with a bulge, but you both fall into one of the two categories." These categories are ar- rived at through a mathemati- cal algorithm developed by EventusDx, a private company funded by American investors. The precision of the algorithm is high, with only a five percent margin of error. "And even this small amount might not actu- ally constitute error," says Yahalom, "but rather the possibility that someone's immune system detected a cancer that is either no longer there --because antibodies destroyed it-- or that has not erupted yet." Detecting cancer quickly Since the release of Octava Pink in Israel in September, Yahalom's lab has performed 400 such blood tests. Another innovation is the nanotech- nology developed at Even- tusDx, which enables testing 96 blood samples simultane- ously. This process takes no more than three hours, allow- ing a woman's doctor to rule out or confirm breast cancer very quickly. Speed, of course, is as important in breast-cancer detection as accuracy - not only for those whose results confirm their physicians' suspicions or diagnoses of breast cancer, but also for those found to be cancer-free. This is because false posi- tives and false negatives are frequent. According to Yaha- lom, "Only 20 to 30 of every 100 biopsies performed as a result of growths detected in mammograms reveal cancer; the rest are benign. Meanwhile, 50 percent of young women with breast cancer, and 30 percent of older women with breast cancer, are diagnosed as healthy." Molecular biologist Galit Yahalom at EventusDx. The Octava Pink test has had astounding results, cor- rectly diagnosing 95 percent of the healthy women and 75 percent of those with breast cancer. Though one in nine women will contract breast cancer at some point in their lifetime, only three in 1,000 have it at any given moment. This is why it is important for women to get regular checkups and to be provided this extra tool to assuage their fears. This particular tool costs NIS 700 (about $200), not including the fee charged by the doctor who purchases the Octava kit and sends it to Yahalom's lab. The product's name was chosen in reference to a metaphor used to describe the immune system: "A song sung in a low octave or a high one is still the same song," says Yahalom. "But if one or more of the notes is off key, it is a different song. The same goes for the immune system. One person's may work slowly and another person's may work quickly; what we detect are the off notes." Her team is nowworking to improve the test, while explor- ing other cancers to target in the future. For more information, see Nepal is latest to use Israeli public-health model By Karin oosterman ,!se!2!.. c . ........ When South African Jewish doctors Sidney and Emily Kark packed their-bags in 1959 to immigrate to Israel, they took with them a new brand of put- ting medicine into practice in the developing world. Their Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC) model started in rural Zulu villages, took root in Israel and formed the basis of the country's first school of public health, the Braun School of Public Health at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem -- one of the few schools to be endorsed by the World Health Organization as a CollaboratingCenterforCapac- ity Building in Public Health. Since 1960, more than 1,000 health professionals from at least 90 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America have received training from the COPC team in Jerusa- lem. Recently the model was implemented, on request, in Nepal at Dhulikhel Hospital in Kathmandu. Thanks to support from the Israeli Embassy in Nepal, which decided to forgo its cul- tural entertainment budget to start the program a few years ago, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for donating the computer infrastructure, Dhulikhel Hospital will host a digitally connected network of 20 community clinics to answer pressing health needs. Nepalese grad takes Israeli expertise home When Dhulikhel Hospital's director requested that Israel start a special program there in 2011, the timing was right. A woman from Nepal had just graduated from the Braun School's international master of public health program on a full scholarship, and was get- ting ready to go back to Nepal with hr newfound knowledge. She and Prof. Yehuda Neu- mark, director of the Braun School, got on a plane and headed to Nepal to teach a one-week crash course that evolved into a long-term proj- ect. Over the last few years, instructors from the Jerusa- lem school have taught child and maternal health, mental health, and even medical clowning to Nepalese health- care providers. Several Israeli governmental agencies fund these workshops. Some 800 alumnae are now fanned out throughout the world. Each of these graduates takes with them a burning need to build something big, Neumark tells ISRAEL21c. It was a graduate in Kenya who called him personally to tell him the moment the Israel Defense Forces arrived on the scene to help after the Nairobi Westgate mall was overcome by terrorists in SePtember 2013. "We are a strong believer in utilizing our graduates - and it's easy to engage our gradU- ates with projects that we are trying to develop," Neumark' says. Now that the computers have been bought for Nepal, "We will develop the software to better learn about the needs of the specific communities," he notes. And this is just what COPC is meant to do. Within the model, highest needs should be prioritized and health pro- motion should extend into the community. Yehuda Neumark in Nepal Working with locals is key, Neumark tells ISRAEL21c, so that needs can be addressed in accordancewith their culture. The Kark model is most useful "where barriers between healthcare providers and com- munity residents can be high- est, but professional health resources may be the lowest," according to Neumark. Today, l.eaders of developing countries from Latin America to Asia know that the COPC model alleviates health prob- lems where resources may be scarce. In a lot of cases, the Israeli approach becomes the backbone for a countrywide- or ministerial public health program, Neumark explains. The system doesn't have a barcode, he adds with a smile, so it's not easy to count just how many people have been positively impacted by COPC. Undoubtedly, the number is in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Addressing their needs Since the 1970s, the Braun School has been granting full scholarships for its interna- tional master's program, at first funded by MASHAV (Israel's Agency for International De- velopment Cooperation), and now by private donors such as the Pear Foundation of the UK. Tuition is currently $36,000. Oral & Facial Surgeons of Mid-Florida Jeffrey Beattie, D.MID. Bob Garfinkel, D.M.D. Charles McNamara, D.M.D. Louis Payor, D.D.S. Wisdom Teeth Sedation Dental Implants Pathology Cometic & Reconstructive Jaw Surgery Winter Park (407) 644-0224 Longwood (407) 774-3399 Orlando (407) 843 1670