Advances and News in Brief

By Jonathan Friedman

Published August 15, 2003, issue of August 15, 2003.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Cancer Screening

The National Prostate Cancer Coalition plans to screen more than 10,000 men across the country this year in its “Drive Against Prostate Cancer” with a mobile screening unit that will enable local physicians to administer a prostate-specific antigen blood test and a physical examination.

“Studies show early detection of prostate cancer saves lives,” the coalition’s president, Richard Atkins, said in a statement. “There are countless men in America who are unable to participate in the preventative healthcare maintenance they desperately need.”

The clinic will travel to poor communities throughout the United States in an attempt to screen as many uninsured men as possible. More than 20 million Americans cannot afford to be screened for prostate cancer, the most prevalent nonskin cancer in the United States. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives, with 29,000 fatalities annually.

Dysautonomia Meeting

With a grant from the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York, the Familial Dysautonomia Hope Foundation will sponsor a conference titled “You Could Be My Cousin — Our Jewish Genetic Heritage” to be held at Fordham University on November 13, 2003.

The conference is intended to educate Ashkenazi Jews about the importance of being screened for familial dysautonomia (FD). One in 27 people of Ashkenazic descent carries the mutated gene, the same carrier rate as for Tay-Sachs. In 2001, scientists identified the gene that can cause FD and the IKAP protein deficiency. Carrier and prenatal tests were quickly made available.

Ovarian Cancer Test

A new screening test for ovarian cancer is being refined at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit in preparation for Food and Drug Administration approval, according to an article in The Detroit Jewish News. Michael Tainsky, who developed the project and is director of the molecular biology and genetics program at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, was drawn to ovarian cancer because of the significant number of Jewish women who are diagnosed with the disease.

More than 80% of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed at a late stage when they have less than a 20% chance of surviving for five years. Patients diagnosed in an earlier stage have a 95% chance of surviving for five years.

Tainsky’s screening test is based on the patterns of proteins in a patient’s blood serum by detecting subtle antibodies circulating in the blood. A large number of antibodies may be the body’s response to the disease.

The test used now, CA125, measures the level of a protein that is abnormally high in about 80% of women who have advanced ovarian cancer and in about 50% of women in earlier stages. The test is not specific to ovarian cancer because the protein appears in great quantities in many other types of cancer, and many patients are misdiagnosed as a result.

Tainsky hopes his test will be available to women with BRCA1 mutations in two years and to the general public in four years, The Detroit Jewish News reported.

Genealogy Cruise

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies will sponsor its first annual “genealogical cruise” in December, it announced in a news release. The IAJGS is the umbrella group for more than 70 Jewish genealogical societies with more than 10,000 individual members searching for their roots.

While at sea, participants will attend lectures and gatherings with Jewish genealogists and others involved in similar research. Lectures will include an introduction to Jewish genealogy and overviews of Jewish geography; federal, state and local records in the United States, and Holocaust research. The lectures will also train the participants to continue research on their own through online resources, the network of Mormon family history libraries around the world and resources available through the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Speakers will include Daniel Schlyter of the Mormon libraries and Peter Lande, a researcher at the national Holocaust museum.

Kidney Experiment

Professor Yair Reisner of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science has succeeded in growing functioning miniature human kidneys in mice using human stem cells, according to the institute’s magazine, Interface.

Reisner said he hopes that if the trials continue to produce positive results, human trials could begin in just a few years. More than 50,000 Americans are in need of kidney transplants, and many die because of the long wait for the organs.

Stem-Cell Consortium

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Gamida-Cell are forming a consortium for the development of stem cell technologies, according to a report in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz.

Teva has also joined the Pharmalogica Consortium, which unites biotechnology and bio-informatics companies, in an effort to predict the chances of transforming active molecules into drugs.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.