Israel Health News
via Sheba Medical Center. A typical room where a patient from the Diamond Princess cruise ship will stay while being cared for at Sheba Medical Center

Israel prepares for coronavirus, makes advancements in pancreatic cancer and more.

Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer, Israel, is caring for 11 Israeli citizens who had been confined to the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan during past weeks who have not exhibited coronavirus symptoms. They arrived Feb. 21.

At press time, one woman, who is in her 70s, has tested positive for the virus but has not yet shown symptoms. She is the wife of a patient who also tested positive. He, too, was on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and is currently being treated in Japan.

The Israelis will be quarantined for up to two weeks in an isolated complex off the main Sheba campus.

Families are being housed nearby and can communicate with their loved ones via Facetime, Skype and WhatsApp.

The hospital is fully prepared to treat any patients who develop coronavirus, according to a spokesperson.

Sheba physicians and staff are using telemedicine, including a robot operated by doctors from a remote location that allows them to monitor patient vital signs, communicate with the patient and conduct basic check-ups.

Datos, a mobile app, also will be used. The platform-powered app will enable close remote monitoring, with patients continuously measuring and recording their body temperatures. The app also allows medical staff to have video calls with patients.

All patients will be given a hand-held device that includes a stethoscope, thermometer and more. Patients will fully examine themselves, with data going to the physicians. The device can also monitor the lungs, where the COVID-19 virus strikes hardest.

Pancreatic Cancer Treatments Advance

A team at Sheba Medical Center’s ARC Innovation Center (Accelerate, Redesign, Collaborate) has joined forces with Sheba’s Dr. Talia Golan, one of the world’s leading doctors in pancreatic cancer, to redesign the way oncologists treat the deadly disease.

The team is using personalized medical treatments in search of the most useful options for patients.

During the first stage of the study, 30 pancreatic cancer patients who carry the BRCA gene will periodically provide blood, tumor and saliva samples during their illness. Using these genetic samples, the researchers will conduct comprehensive analysis and classify each tumor according to specific genomic signatures, allowing for personalized treatments to be tailored for each patient.

The study will initially focus on a specific pancreatic cancer population of carriers of the BRCA 1/2 mutations. In the future, the researchers’ goal is to expand the patient population to other subtypes of pancreatic cancer.

With this project, Sheba researchers will have assembled the single largest database of patient information related to pancreatic cancer. The hope is this database will have a global impact by giving other researchers an unprecedented foundation of information in the study of pancreatic cancer.

The timing of this initiative is critical, as a Pancreatic Cancer Action Network paper recently revealed that pancreatic cancer will likely move to become the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States in 2020. In Israel, the number of pancreatic cancer cases is also on the rise.

RightHear Aids the Visually Impaired

Israeli tech startup RightHear, a Raanana-based company, offers an advanced accessibility solution that allows its users to hear where they are, what’s there and what’s around them simply by pointing their smartphone in different directions, according to its website.

The system has three components: a phone app downloadable for free, Bluetooth-powered beacons (sensors) pre-installed at the location and the management platform, according to a report in NoCamels.com. The platform is available for subscribers (venues) so they can edit or update the information for each location.

Buildings and locations are mapped ahead of time, RightHear sensors are installed, and information is uploaded to the app, which gives audio information about the surroundings and navigates the user, the NoCamels report said.

The app is available in nine languages for Android and iOS. It can even call for help, if needed.

Currently, RightHear operates in more than 1,000 locations worldwide.

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