The top 12 most amazing Israeli medical advances

Israel is a powerhouse in medical innovation. We give you a dozen standouts from a field with many exciting, game-changing candidates.

Israeli ingenuity is responsible for some of the world’s most amazing medical advances.

Whether they’re futuristic, such as Given Imaging’s PillCam capsule endoscopy or Itamar Medical’s fingertip monitors for sleep disorders and cardiac issues — or cleverly simple, such as First Care Products’ Emergency Bandage – blue-and-white inventions are changing the face of healthcare in hospitals, doctors’ offices, homes and even battlefields worldwide.

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“It’s almost a cliché to say Israel is an excellent place for medical innovation,” says Eran Perry, managing director at Israel Health Care Ventures (IHCV), one of the largest venture capital funds in the country.

“But if you look at [global] statistics, it’s evident — from total expenditure on civilian R&D, where we are ranked first; to human infrastructure and entrepreneurship, where we rank in the top five. You can see the results in patents. We are first in the world for medical device patents per capita, and second in Europe for bio-pharma.”

About 1,000 Israeli companies are in healthcare or life-science products, including 700 in medical devices. Approximately half are already generating revenue.

“There has been an ecosystem created for life sciences, so these 1,000 companies don’t exist in a vacuum but in an environment where they have access to everything they need — engineering, labs, regulatory consultants, manufacturing consultants,” Perry tells ISRAEL21c. “Many young companies can be a one-man show until they get to the clinical trial stage, relying on this excellent ecosystem around them. You can see Israeli companies reaching the same stage as American ones with a fraction of the capital investment.”

IHCV reviews 200 to 300 new opportunities per year. Perry estimates that 60 to 70 Israeli healthcare companies are founded annually. Proceeds from mergers and acquisitions involving Israeli healthcare companies totalled around $1 billion in the past year.

That’s why ISRAEL21c had a hard time narrowing the field to this top 12 list of the most significant recent Israeli contributions to the medical field.

We have chosen products already on, or very near, the market. If you’ve got other companies you think also deserve a mention please don’t hesitate to add them to the comments section below.

And watch for a future top 10 list of the most exciting Israeli medical-device and pharmaceutical developments just around the corner.

And now … ISRAEL21c’s top 12 Israeli medical innovations, in alphabetical order.

1. ApiFix system to correct severe curvature of the spine (scoliosis) minimizes risks, scar size, complications, recovery time and cost. The miniature ratchet mechanism has successfully been implanted in 15 patients so far. Limited sales of the product have begun while clinical trials are in the last stages.

ApiFix implant

2. Argo Medical Technologies’ Rewalk robotic exoskeleton from was featured on the hit TV show “Glee” and enabled paraplegic runners in London and Tel Aviv to complete marathons. The ReWalk Rehabilitation model currently is used by patients in rehab centers from New York to Dusseldorf. ReWalk Personal, for everyday home use, is available throughout Europe and awaiting FDA clearance in the United States.

3. Gamida Cell is developing stem-cell therapy products to treat blood cancers, solid tumors, non-malignant blood diseases such as sickle-cell anemia, autoimmune diseases and genetic metabolic diseases. On Sept. 9, the first patient was successfully transplanted at Duke University Medical Center (North Carolina) in the second Phase I/II study of NiCord, Gamida’s experimental treatment for blood cancers.

4. GI View Aer-O-Scope disposable colorectal cancer screening device, now in US trials, will make lifesaving colonoscopy screenings cheaper, safer and more accessible worldwide. The self-navigating, flexible Aer-O-Scope removes the risk of perforating the colon, provides superior imaging and can be used by a trained nurse or technician so a gastroenterologist does not have to be present.

5. IceCure Medical’s IceSense3 has been used by US doctors since 2011 to remove benign breast lumps in a 10-minute ultrasound-guided procedure that penetrates the tumor and engulfs it with ice. The system is being clinically tested over the next few years against small malignant breast tumors as well. The procedure is done in a doctor’s office, clinic or breast center, and the patient can get up and leave afterward with no recovery period or post-care.

IceCure IceSense3

6. InSightec’s ExAblate OR uses MRI-guided focused ultrasound to destroy tumors and uterine fibroid cysts without surgery. The company has begun a Phase III trial of its next product, ExAblate Neuro, to cure essential tremor — a common movement disorder – using the same non-invasive technology to significantly lower risk of infection, hemorrhage and brain damage.

Insightec ExAblate

7. IonMed’s BioWeld1 bonds surgical incisions using cold plasma — instead of painful stitches, staples or glue – within minutes, sealing and disinfecting the wound with minimal scarring and recovery time. The CE Mark is expected in October, with European sales and US FDA approval process starting in early 2014.

IonMed

8. Nano Retina’s Bio-Retina, a tiny implantable device inserted into the retina in a 30-minute procedure, turns into an artificial retina that melds to the neurons in the eye. Activated by special eyeglasses, the device transforms natural light into an electrical impulse that stimulates neurons to send images to the brain. The prototype is advancing quickly through clinical trials.

9. NanoPass Technologies’ MicronJet is a unique, FDA-approved single-use needle for painless delivery of vaccines into the skin using semiconductor technology. The product has been proven to generate superior immune response with less vaccine, because it does not go past the skin level. Licensed last year to Janssen Pharmaceuticals, MicronJet is being used by the US Center of Disease Control (CDC) in a large trial of polio vaccine for infants in Southeast Asia.

10. OrSense’s NBM-200 non-invasive monitor is relied upon by blood donation centers in 40 countries for continuous and spot measuring of potential donors’ hemoglobin level (to check for anemia) and other blood parameters. This device eliminates the need for finger pricking as well as biologically hazardous equipment and waste. Studies show that donors screened this way are more likely to become repeat blood donors. OrSense recently completed successful trials using its technology to detect hemorrhage and anemia in pregnant women.

11. Surpass Medical’s NeuroEndoGraft flow diverters redirect blood flow from a brain aneurysm (a bulge in a weak artery wall), so that a stable clot can form and the potentially fatal aneurysm no longer is in danger of rupturing. The family of devices has the CE Mark and has been used successfully in dozens of patients. US medical device manufacturer Stryker acquired Surpass for $100 million in October 2012.

12. VitalGo Systems’ Total Lift bed is the world’s only hospital-grade bed that can elevate a patient from a lying to a fully standing position — and all points in between — for treatment and transfer with no lifting required of the caregiver. Two major companies are distributing Total Lift in the acute-care and home-care markets in the United States.

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About Abigail Klein Leichman

Abigail Klein Leichman is a writer and associate editor at ISRAEL21c. Prior to moving to Israel in 2007, she was a specialty writer and copy editor at a daily newspaper in New Jersey and has freelanced for a variety of newspapers and periodicals since 1984.
  • Linda

    Thank God for Israel.

  • Dafna Yee

    I got the warm fuzzies as well as an enormous sense of pride by association while reading this article and seeing the pictures. Thank you so much for sharing this information.

  • Mickey Oberman

    Why are these and so many other brilliant Israeli inventions and developments rarely mentioned in the world’s news media?

    • cre8iveman@aol.com

      That would create a positive reputation for Israel, and that would take away from the world’s media’s constant attempt to demonize that country.

  • Flatroofer

    God Bless Israel, a world leader in so many fields.

  • MoriGee

    Is there any information on Israeli companies using Far Infrared Therapy for in the field of physiotherapy?

    Mori Goldlist

    Toronto Canada

  • hope4j

    Please find a cure for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis there are a lot of us dying from it thank you

  • jack silas

    will the nano retina tewchnology also help to restore eyesight to sufferes of macular degeneration

  • AYRES BARBOSA DE SOUZA

    amo ISRAEL.

  • Charlene

    You guys are the best!!! I read thru these wonderful “inventions” health helps and amazed. So exciting beyond measure!!! My husband suffers from essential tremor, much worse with age now, and it is frustrating and limiting. His father could barely function in his old age. It runs in his family and at least one in every siblings children, as well as showing up in some of our older grandchildren. have they looked at DNA in this area. God Bless you all as you bless the lives of soooo many.

  • Maryann Tamayo

    the best.

  • faith dino

    Amazing Israel…technologies is their no one money making. Surpasses other nations. Really blessed by our God almighty…..

  • limi

    God Bless Israel <3