…that cancer patients might have heightened COVID 19 fighting ability?  It seems to defy logic, but Israeli cancer expert and recent BSF-grantee Prof. Yuval Shaked, just published a study in the peer-reviewed journal Cancers that points to the weakened immune system of oncology patients acting as a potential bulwark against the coronavirus. Shaked, head of the Technion’s Integrated Cancer Center (TICC), was “surprised” that not even one of the thousands of oncology patients at the Haifa-based Rambam Medical Center had suffered COVID-19 symptoms during Israel’s first wave of infection. After conducting antibody tests on a sample of the patients, he found that cancer sufferers were indeed being infected just like the rest of the population, but were somehow able to efficiently fight the virus and remain asymptomatic.

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…that Israeli scientists have developed a gene therapy for deafness? Deafness is the most common sensory disability worldwide. According to the World Health Organization there are about half a billion people with hearing loss around the world today, and this figure is expected to double in the coming decades. However, as part of a BSF-supported project, scientists were able to prevent the gradual deterioration of hearing in mice with a genetic mutation for deafness. They maintain that this novel therapy could lead to a breakthrough in treating children born with various mutations that eventually cause deafness. The study was led by Prof. Karen Avraham and Shahar Taiber, a student in the combined MD-PhD track, from the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, and the Sagol School of Neuroscience, and Prof. Jeffrey Holt from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Additional contributors included Prof. David Sprinzak from the School of Neurobiology, Biochemistry and Biophysics at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University. For more information, click here.