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Researchers Develop New Technology to Produce Powerful Disinfectant Based on Tap Water

 

Researchers at Bar-Ilan University have developed a new and revolutionary technology to produce a powerful disinfectant based on tap water. According to the researchers, the disinfectant doesn’t harm the environment and has many advantages: The material is effective and safe to use, is harmless to humans who smell or drink less than ten liters, and does not contaminate groundwater. The material has the ability to destroy all types of bacteria, spores and viruses, including bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. The technology will replace the need for chemicals harmful to health and the environment, such as bleach, septolTM, chlorhexidine, ammonia, and more, and will eliminate the excessive and  use of contaminating disposable plastic.

The materials currently available on the market, which can be classified as effective anti-bacterial, require extra caution while using. For example, bleach exists in almost every household and hospital, but no one would think of washing a cutting board, let alone vegetables, or using it in the vicinity of children. If we take this a step forward, no one would think of “spraying” drops of alcohol from the opening of an air conditioner when a member of a household has the flu in order to prevent infection of the rest of the family.

The researchers who developed the technology are from the laboratory of Prof. Doron Aurbach, an international expert in electrochemistry from Bar-Ilan University’s Chemistry Department. The invention is patented. Patent registration in Israel and several countries around the world was handled by BIRAD Research and Development Company Ltd., which commercializes Bar-Ilan University inventions.

Our production process explain the researchers, also takes advantage of oxygen dissolved in water and existing salts, unlike the others. “Moreover, unlike other technologies that include two large cells with a membrane separating the cells, which makes these devices large, cumbersome and costly, we were able to produce simple inexpensive low-cost, membrane-free systems that can be embedded even in a tube. All of this was achieved through the knowledge we gained during this long-term study.”

The platform on which the technology is based enables the creation of a variety of solutions for the creation of spaces clean from bacteria micro-organism: for example: spray – aerosols (for disinfecting surfaces, appliances, beds, closets, bathrooms, toilets, etc.), containers for immersion (washing devices, hands etc.), disinfectant wipes, hand washing, shoe washing, buckets for washing and disinfecting floors, air-conditioning systems, washing machines, and dry fog air-purifiers.

So, how does it work? By designing an array of nanometer-shaped electrodes with unique surface properties. The meeting between water and electrode creates a cleaning material in a unique aquatic environment. The combination of these compounds gives rise to an effective antibacterial capability for microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and spores), while at the same time safe for macro organisms (larger bodies such as our skin cells).

“The ability to produce electrodes in a variety of shapes and textures makes the technology suitable to almost any application – from a ‘cassette’ in an air conditioner, a container for washing fish and meat, to disinfection and removal of pesticides from vegetables and fruit, mobile spray, a device for manufacturing disposable antibacterial cloths and many other applications,” emphasizes Dr. Eran Avraham, who developed the technology.  “Imagine a situation in which you are at a busy mall and are interested in using the public bathroom. All you have to do is take out the compact spray bottle, access the nearest tap, and press the power button. Now you have a disinfectant that will allow you with a simple spray to sterilize the toilet and bathroom space and be protected.”

Dr. Izaak Cohen, who co-developed the technology, adds: “Today’s disinfectants are problematic, unlike our unique disinfectant technology, although they are very commonly used in laboratories, clinics and hospitals. For instance – Septol, is very common in hospitals, however, it is expensive and dries the skin. Today’s Septol is problematic and its use is questionable because there are more and more reports of bacteria that have developed resistance to it. Chlorhexidine, which is commonly used to disinfect medical equipment and surfaces, is flammable, explosive and dangerous to electrical products, and it has been reported that there are bacteria that have developed resistance to it as well. Quaternary ammonium, which is used for disinfecting laboratory equipment, is toxic. The chemicals of various kinds are substances that damage both the quality of the devices and their shelf life, as well as damage groundwater”.

Entrepreneur Barak Dror Vanderman has extensive experience in entrepreneurship, management and business development, seeking breakthrough technologies, and worked on the commercialization and establishment of the company AqooA Solutions, Eco Sanitizing Technologies.

We are on the brink of revolution by making the most effective green disinfectant available to the entire population and medical institutions. Technology that will save many lives, save the economy a lot of money, will eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals that harm the environment such as bleach, whose sales reach around $91 billion a year. “We developed the technology in several prototypes and we are in the final stage in terms of R&D. We are currently embarking on a round of fundraising and will then focus on electrical engineering, electronics and product design,” notes Wanderman.

Recently, an experiment was conducted in one of Israel’s hospitals to test the efficacy of the material in real-life conditions. Bacterial pathogens were taken from patients in various departments. The bacteria were selected were resistant to antibiotics, resistant to a watery environment and these are bacteria that “infest” hospitals. The results were unequivocal. After just three minutes of exposure to the disinfectant material all the bacteria were destroyed, in some cases even a few seconds was enough to kill the bacteria.  Now, imagine that in a hospital room, the curtains, the counters, and even the IV bar frequently come into contact with the disinfectant.

During the course of the research, several models of prototypes (mobile spray and vegetable and fruit processing bottles) were developed. With the help of BIRAD, the entrepreneur and the researchers are currently embarking on a round of fundraising and locating investors, focusing on electrical engineering, electronics and product design.

Dr. Frances Shalit, VP of Business Development at BIRAD, explains the importance of the invention: “There are many antibacterial disinfectants on the market, but this material is based on water, cheaper than them, three times more effective, seven times less toxic for humans, preserves these capabilities for much longer (months and years) and covers a large variety of bacteria. ” Dr. Shalit is convinced that many industries will want to add this material to their products and gain these important results at a low cost.

For further information, contact: Merav Burstein:  – 052-2229330 – merav@birad.biz

 

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Technologies developed by Bar-Ilan University researchers attracts the attention of Elbit Systems

Researchers from Bar-Ilan University recently met with technology leaders from Elbit Systems to examine the possibility of academic research collaborations to advance technologies with potential future applications. The meeting was organized by Marketing department of BIRAD — Research and Development Company Ltd., the commercializing company of Bar-Ilan University.

The meeting was attended by approximately 20 employees of Elbit Systems representing various divisions who met with BIRAD’s professional staff, including the Deputy Director Generals of Business Development Nati Fisher and Dr. Iris Haas, Marketing Director Merav Burstein, and Bar-Ilan researchers, including: Prof. Sharon Gannot, Prof. Avinoam Zadok, Prof. Jacob Goldberger and Dr. Asaf Albo from the Alexander Kofkin Faculty of Engineering, Prof. Joseph Keshet from the Department of Computer Science, Prof. Avi Pe’er of the Department of Physics, and Prof. Shai Rahimipour and Dr. Daniel Nessim of the Chemistry Department, who presented their research, expertise and the various potential possibilities for mutual application.

The meeting was part of an ongoing effort managed by Elbit Chief Scientist Dr. Alon Stoppel to expose the technology team to university research on the verge of implementation.

“These meetings are one of the tools that Elbit uses in order to maintain technological leadership, monitor emerging and breakthrough technologies, and provide feedback to academia on the needs of industry,” noted Dr. Stoppel.

Dr. Tsvika Ben-Porat, CEO of BIRAD, noted: “Connections and collaborations between academics and industry professionals create innovation. Scientists, researchers and academics are an important and significant element in current and future innovative projects in many and varied fields. BIRAD aims to promote the commercialization of innovative technologies invented by the Bar-Ilan University researchers, and encourages scientists to advance and expand their research in the direction of applied and industrial projects — all while deepening ties with industry players on the one hand and with academics on the other. The goal is to maximize the research potential of the University and bring it to practical implementation.”

For further information, contact: Merav Burstein:  – 052-2229330 – merav@birad.biz

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Bar-Ilan University holds conference to encourage cooperation with industry

Bar-Ilan University’s Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences recently hosted scores of representatives from companies and industry in order to explore opportunities for expanding collaboration.

The ongoing drive by Bar-Ilan to turn its research into industrial applications has resulted in the development of a sophisticated infrastructure catering to faculty, graduate students, and collaborations with academia and industry in Israel and abroad.

Participants were introduced to the University’s various scientific service centers and the state-of-the-art technology and equipment housed in them.

Vice President for Research Prof. Shulamit Michaeli, Faculty Dean Prof. Doron Ginsberg, and the General Manager of BIRAD (the research and development company of Bar-Ilan University) Dr. Tzvika Ben Porat stressed the importance of opening the gates of academia to the outside world, especially to industrial research.

BIRAD’s Marketing Director Merav Burstein, who moderated the meeting, said that with facilities both in the center and north of the country, Bar-Ilan provides valuable services to Ichilov, Sheba and Beilinson hospitals in central Israel, and Poriya and Naharia hospitals in the north.

Additional facilities and services the University offers industry at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine in Safed, the Mass Spectrometry Unit in the Department of Chemistry, and at the Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, were also surveyed.

BIRAD has service agreement contracts with many companies from start-ups to multi-nationals, such as LG, BASF, GM, Merck and more. BIRAD also works with academia and medical centers.

The event was coordinated by Dr. Roxane Lahmi with the assistance of BIRAD’s Marketing Department.

For further information, contact: Merav Burstein:  – 052-2229330 – merav@birad.biz

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Bar-Ilan University holds conference to encourage cooperation with industry

Bar-Ilan University’s Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences recently hosted scores of representatives from companies and industry in order to explore opportunities for expanding collaboration.

The ongoing drive by Bar-Ilan to turn its research into industrial applications has resulted in the development of a sophisticated infrastructure catering to faculty, graduate students, and collaborations with academia and industry in Israel and abroad.

Participants were introduced to the University’s various scientific service centers and the state-of-the-art technology and equipment housed in them.

Vice President for Research Prof. Shulamit Michaeli, Faculty Dean Prof. Doron Ginsberg, and the General Manager of BIRAD (the research and development company of Bar-Ilan University) Dr. Tzvika Ben Porat stressed the importance of opening the gates of academia to the outside world, especially to industrial research.

BIRAD’s Marketing Director Merav Burstein, who moderated the meeting, said that with facilities both in the center and north of the country, Bar-Ilan provides valuable services to Ichilov, Sheba and Beilinson hospitals in central Israel, and Poriya and Naharia hospitals in the north.

Additional facilities and services the University offers industry at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine in Safed, the Mass Spectrometry Unit in the Department of Chemistry, and at the Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, were also surveyed.

BIRAD has service agreement contracts with many companies from start-ups to multi-nationals, such as LG, BASF, GM, Merck and more. BIRAD also works with academia and medical centers.

The event was coordinated by Dr. Roxane Lahmi with the assistance of BIRAD’s Marketing Department.

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Introducing PROSPERA®: A New Sweet Basil Hybrid Resistant to Downy Mildew

Researchers of Bar-Ilan University, in cooperation with Genesis Seeds Ltd., have developed a hybrid of basil, the culinary herb, which is completely resistant to Downy Mildew, a devastating disease caused by a fungus-like pathogen. The new patented product, contains no pesticides and will provide much-needed relief to farmers and consumers worldwide.  

In recent years an epidemic of Downy Mildew (DM) has caused severe damage to sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) crops all over the world. The cause of the epidemic is a leaf fungus called Peronospora belbahrii. Symptoms of infected plants include deformed leaves, chlorotic lesions on leaves and dark spores on the lower leaf surface.

DM was first discovered in basil in Switzerland in 2003 and soon after spread throughout the world via fresh material transport, infected seeds and even drifting winds. Interestingly, aside from one case in Uganda in 1933, DM was never before seen in basil. In Israel, it appeared in 2011 with unprecedented symptoms that were found to be caused by Peronospora belbahrii. Until now no varieties of basil have been found to be genetically resistant to DM.

DM poses a threat to the basil industry, mainly because of the fact that the length of time it is stored creates optimal conditions for its onset. In many cases the disease goes unnoticed because it remains “dormant” during harvest and emerges only later. Today, farmers use mainly pesticides to cope with the disease.  But even so, within less than a year of the onset in Israel, the patogen developed resistanceto the majority of pesticides, making them ineffective at all. Regulatory obstacles in introducing new products into the market and restrictions on some pesticides which leave a harmful residue on the crop have exacerbated the problem.

Israel is one of the major winter exporters of fresh herbs to Europe, Russia and the eastern United States. The Israeli fresh herb market is estimated to export nearly 70 million Euros per year, 50% of which is based on sweet basil.  Most of the basil in Israel is grown in the country’s hottest regions — the Arava, Jordan Valley, Beit Shean Valley and the Negev.

The severe intensity of the epidemic in Israel brought the Phytopathology Laboratory in the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University, headed by Israel Prize winner Prof. Yigal Cohen and Dr. Yariv Ben-Na’im, to investigate how the disease is transmitted. As many varieties as they screened, they were unable to detect any sweet basil line resistant to DM.  However, various degrees of resistance were found in wild species of the genus Ocimum.  These species differ from sweet basil in both appearance and aroma, and show interspecific crossing barrier due to genetic remoteness.

Genesis Seeds, specialists for more 20 years in manufacturing, marketing and cultivating seeds including basil, joined the Bar-Ilan researchers in financing and facilitating breed-oriented research aimed at transmitting DM resistance from wild into sweet basil varieties.  New funding by Genesis facilitated concentrated efforts towards a new protocol to obtain interspecific hybrids.  They produced a few hybrid plants that are both DM resistant and fertile. The breakthrough enabled the researchers to obtain genetic material that constitutes the foundation for a broad breeding program.

Genesis Seeds and the Bar-Ilan team, represented by the Bar-Ilan Research and BIRAD Research & Development Company Ltd, the commercializing company of the University, are currently commercializing new sweet basil cultivars marketed under the name “Prospera” (a play on words between the disease Peronospora and prosperity).  Prospera is currently being tested in Israel and around the world and holds promise for growers of basil and consumers worldwide.

“BIRAD is proud to utilize the extensive knowledge and experience of Dr. Cohen, a world-renowned expert on phytopathology at Bar-Ilan University and recipient of the Israel Prize for Agricultural Research, in order to improve agriculture in Israel and around the world.  His remarkable developments have helped remedy global problems that plague the world of agriculture, such as plant diseases caused by pests. We hope to perfect his and his team’s novel technique to develop resistance to other diseases as well,” said Dr. Frances Shalit, Vice President of Business Development for BIRAD.

Registration and commercialization of the patent is being handled by BIRAD.

For further information, contact: Merav Burstein:  – 052-2229330 – merav@birad.biz

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Bar-Ilan University holds conference to encourage cooperation with industry

Bar-Ilan University’s Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences recently hosted scores of representatives from companies and industry in order to explore opportunities for expanding collaboration.

The ongoing drive by Bar-Ilan to turn its research into industrial applications has resulted in the development of a sophisticated infrastructure catering to faculty, graduate students, and collaborations with academia and industry in Israel and abroad.

Participants were introduced to the University’s various scientific service centers and the state-of-the-art technology and equipment housed in them.

Vice President for Research Prof. Shulamit Michaeli, Faculty Dean Prof. Doron Ginsberg, and the General Manager of BIRAD (the research and development company of Bar-Ilan University) Dr. Tzvika Ben Porat industry stressed the importance of opening the gates of academia to the outside world, especially to industrial research.

BIRAD’s Marketing Director Merav Burstein, who moderated the meeting, said that with facilities both in the center and north of the country, Bar-Ilan provides valuable services to Ichilov, Sheba and Beilinson hospitals in central Israel, and Poriya and Naharia hospitals in the north.

Additional facilities and services the University offers industry at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine in Safed, the Mass Spectrometry Unit in the This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative., and at the Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, were also surveyed.

BIRAD has service agreement contracts with many companies from start-ups to multi-nationals, such as LG, BASF, GM, Merck and more. BIRAD also works with academia and medical centers.

The event was coordinated by Dr. Roxane Lahmi with the assistance of BIRAD’s Marketing Department.

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Introducing PROSPERA®: A New Sweet Basil Hybrid Resistant to Downy Mildew

Researchers of Bar-Ilan University, in cooperation with Genesis Seeds Ltd., have developed a hybrid of basil, the culinary herb, which is completely resistant to Downy Mildew, a devastating disease caused by a fungus-like pathogen. The new patented product, contains no pesticides and will provide much-needed relief to farmers and consumers worldwide.  

In recent years an epidemic of Downy Mildew (DM) has caused severe damage to sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) crops all over the world. The cause of the epidemic is a leaf fungus called Peronospora belbahrii. Symptoms of infected plants include deformed leaves, chlorotic lesions on leaves and dark spores on the lower leaf surface.

DM was first discovered in basil in Switzerland in 2003 and soon after spread throughout the world via fresh material transport, infected seeds and even drifting winds. Interestingly, aside from one case in Uganda in 1933, DM was never before seen in basil. In Israel, it appeared in 2011 with unprecedented symptoms that were found to be caused by Peronospora belbahrii. Until now no varieties of basil have been found to be genetically resistant to DM.

DM poses a threat to the basil industry, mainly because of the fact that the length of time it is stored creates optimal conditions for its onset. In many cases the disease goes unnoticed because it remains “dormant” during harvest and emerges only later. Today, farmers use mainly pesticides to cope with the disease.  But even so, within less than a year of the onset in Israel, the patogen developed resistanceto the majority of pesticides, making them ineffective at all. Regulatory obstacles in introducing new products into the market and restrictions on some pesticides which leave a harmful residue on the crop have exacerbated the problem.

Israel is one of the major winter exporters of fresh herbs to Europe, Russia and the eastern United States. The Israeli fresh herb market is estimated to export nearly 70 million Euros per year, 50% of which is based on sweet basil.  Most of the basil in Israel is grown in the country’s hottest regions — the Arava, Jordan Valley, Beit Shean Valley and the Negev.

The severe intensity of the epidemic in Israel brought the Phytopathology Laboratory in the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University, headed by Israel Prize winner Prof. Yigal Cohen and Dr. Yariv Ben-Na’im, to investigate how the disease is transmitted. As many varieties as they screened, they were unable to detect any sweet basil line resistant to DM.  However, various degrees of resistance were found in wild species of the genus Ocimum.  These species differ from sweet basil in both appearance and aroma, and show interspecific crossing barrier due to genetic remoteness.

Genesis Seeds, specialists for more 20 years in manufacturing, marketing and cultivating seeds including basil, joined the Bar-Ilan researchers in financing and facilitating breed-oriented research aimed at transmitting DM resistance from wild into sweet basil varieties.  New funding by Genesis facilitated concentrated efforts towards a new protocol to obtain interspecific hybrids.  They produced a few hybrid plants that are both DM resistant and fertile. The breakthrough enabled the researchers to obtain genetic material that constitutes the foundation for a broad breeding program.

Genesis Seeds and the Bar-Ilan team, represented by the Bar-Ilan Research and BIRAD Research & Development Company Ltd, the commercializing company of the University, are currently commercializing new sweet basil cultivars marketed under the name “Prospera” (a play on words between the disease Peronospora and prosperity).  Prospera is currently being tested in Israel and around the world and holds promise for growers of basil and consumers worldwide.

“BIRAD is proud to utilize the extensive knowledge and experience of Dr. Cohen, a world-renowned expert on phytopathology at Bar-Ilan University and recipient of the Israel Prize for Agricultural Research, in order to improve agriculture in Israel and around the world.  His remarkable developments have helped remedy global problems that plague the world of agriculture, such as plant diseases caused by pests. We hope to perfect his and his team’s novel technique to develop resistance to other diseases as well,” said Dr. Frances Shalit, Vice President of Business Development for BIRAD.

Registration and commercialization of the patent is being handled by BIRAD.

For further information, contact: Merav Burstein:  – 052-2229330 – merav@birad.biz

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בבר-אילן נאחזים בכל שטח ומסרבים להתפנות

באוניברסיטת בר-אילן פתחו חומר כימי המאפשר לייצר צבעים קוטלי חיידקים

קיימים בשוק עוד צבעים כאלה, הנקראים ‘אנטי-בקטריאליים’, אבל החומר החדש זול מהם בסדר גודל, פי שלוש קטלני מהם, פי שבע פחות רעיל לבני אדם, משמר את היכולת הזו הרבה יותר זמן (חודשים ושנים) ומכסה מספר רב של סוגי חיידקים.

 פרופ’ שי רהימיפור מהמחלקה לכימה באוניברסיטת בר-אילן פיתח מוצר כימי המאפשר להצמיד חומר מועיל למשטחים. החומר יאפשר לייצר צבעים קוטלי חיידקים, משחקי ילדים המונעים העברת מחלות, תחבושות היגיניות המונעות ריח, פלסטרים מחטאים ועוד – חומרים שבהם נדרשת גם הצמדה חזקה ויציבה למשטח, וגם תכונות כימיות מועילות.

“החומר הזה אינו המצאה מקורית שלנו” מודה פרופ’ רהימיפור. “הוא מבוסס על תצפיות בתכונה מופלאה של בעל חיים קטן שכולנו מכירים”. התכונה הזו נחקרה כבר בעבר ע״י מדענים אחרים, והחומר הגורם לה בודד ואופיין. צוות חוקרים בצוות של פרופ׳ רהימיפור המציאו שיטה חדשה ויעילה מאוד להכין חלקיקים ננומטרים של החומר – ואלה משחזרים את היכולת של בעל החיים להיצמד למשטחים שונים. יחד עם זאת, תכננו החוקרים את המולקולה של החומר בדרך המאפשרת להעשיר אותו בקלות במגוון רחב של תכונות שימושיות חדשות – תכונות שבעל החיים בטבע אינו צריך כלל.

“תארו לכם, למשל, שאנו מציעים ליצרן צבעים תוסף לצבע שבזכותו חיידקים הנוחתים על הקיר הצבוע נקטלים מייד. הקיר הצבוע שומר על התכונה הזו חודשים ארוכים, ואפילו שנים” אומר פרופ’ רהימיפור כשהוא מתכוון לצביעה של קירות בבתי חולים, ריהוט בגני ילדים, או חדרים בבתי ילדים ובמעונות.

ד”ר פרנסיס שליט, סמנכ”לית לפיתוח עסקי בביראד (החברה הממונה על מיסחור ההמצאות של אוניברסיטת בר-אילן) מסבירה את החשיבות של ההמצאה: “קיימים בשוק עוד צבעים כאלה, הנקראים ‘אנטי-בקטריאליים’, אבל החומר של שי זול מהם בסדר גודל, פי שלוש קטלני מהם, פי שבע פחות רעיל לבני אדם, משמר את היכולת הזו הרבה יותר זמן (חודשים ושנים) ומכסה מספר רב של סוגי חיידקים”. ד”ר שליט משוכנעת שתעשיות רבות ירצו להוסיף את החומר הזה למוצרים שלהן ולזכות בתכונות חשובות בעלות נמוכה.

ביראד התחילה כבר את נסיונות השיווק של הרישיון לחומר הזה – בשלב זה בוחנים את החומר מפעלים ישראליים המפתחים תחבושות ופדים ומפעלים המפתחים צבעים לשימוש תעשייתי וביתי. בהמשך תרחיב האוניברסיטה את היישומים של החומר לתחומים תעשייתיים נוספים ולשוק הבינלאומי.

“הטבע מלמד אותנו חלק מחוכמתו” אומר פרופ’ רהימיפור בחיוך. “והמזל שלנו הוא שהטבע אינו רושם פטנטים על המצאותיו ומאפשר לחוקרים לבסס המצאות חדשות על התבונה שלו. על המצאות אלו ניתן לרשום פטנטים ואז להעניק רשיונות לתעשייה”.

ביראד תרצה לשקול יישומים נוספים לחומר הזה – מצבים שבהם קיים חומר בעל יכולת מועילה מאוד, וצריך דרך להצמיד אותו למשטחים כך שיישאר צמוד למשטח וישחרר את החומר המועיל לאט לאט, לאורך שנים.

לפרטים : מירב בורשטיין. 077-3643534, 052-2229330. Merav@birad.biz

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This is where transected nerves are regenerated – A new Israeli patent

Professor Orit Shefi, head of BIU’s Neuro-Engineering and Regeneration Laboratory, in Bar-Ilan’s Faculty of Engineering, has invented a method to dramatically enhance the healing of damage stemming from transected nerves. Successful repair of a transected nerve can restore sensory perception and functional recovery to limbs paralyzed in an accident or an injury. This invention has been recently registered as an international patent, through BIRAD – Research & Development Company Ltd, Bar-Ilan University’s commercializing company.

The regenerating process of a transected nerve is similar to the process of repairing a torn water pipe: a different nerve autograft or a conduit made of elastic material (for e.g. Collagen gel which is natural for the body) is implanted and very carefully connected to both nerve endings (a gap is often created between the two nerve endings due to the injury, and the conduit bridges this gap). Neuron cells from the connected side of the cell (the one leading from the brain) start to advance inside the conduit towards the disconnected part of the nerve and to the damaged organ. When the nerve cells reach the target organ, neuronal activity begins through the conduit and the regenerated nerve. Implanting the conduit and connecting it at both ends is surgically performed.

A full or empty conduit? In order for the nerve cells to advance along the conduit, it may be beneficial to fill the conduit with a substance that is ready to host the nerve cells and enable them to advance and provide support. This substance can also be based on Collagen fibers. The nerve cells advance along the Collagen fibers relying on them as physical cues. This is precisely the problem – filling the conduit with a biomimetic material is a challenge that many labs are trying to solve – which professor Shefi has solved through her invention:

If the conduit is implanted when it’s full of Collagen and the fibers are aligned with the conduit’s direction – it’s easy for the nerve cells (since they know where to advance), but difficult for the surgeon. Imagine a plumber who has to connect two pipes using a piece of pipe full of water, without spilling the water.

If the conduit is implanted when it’s empty, and the Collagen is injected into it as a gel consisting of messy fibers after it’s connected – it’s easy for the surgeon, and difficult for the nerve cells: they have to make their way through entangled fibers which do not point in the right direction. They have to reach an unfamiliar destination with no map or Waze. In other words – the regeneration and healing process will be extremely lengthy.

So which do we prefer? A difficult dilemma – will we prefer a simple operation and a lengthy recovery, or a complicated operation and a short recovery? “We’ll prefer one and the other” says Prof. Orit Shefi, “A simple operation with an empty conduit, and directed fibers which conduct the nerve cells directly to the other end of the conduit”. Our invention enables this vision in a way that can be explained simply: “We will create a gel with magnetic substance in it” she explains, “We’ll connect the nerve endings to the empty conduit. We’ll inject this gel into the conduit. It will remain liquified for a few minutes, and then coagulate. During those few minutes, we’ll keep a strong magnet pointed in the right direction next to the body. All the Collagen fibers will align according to the magnet. We’ll hold the magnet until the gel solidifies and its fibers are aligned. We will dispose of the magnet, and the fibers will remain pointing in the right direction.”

This invention is patent protected, and using it surgeons will be able to revive paralyzed limbs,” says the researcher Merav Antman Passig who’s dissertation was conducted in this research, “and maybe, in the future, a paralyzed body as well.” It will happen if the procedure will be able to connect a severed spinal cord using the gel. This option is unavailable today, and Merav hopes that if the invention will be developed into a medicinal product, in the future, people with upper-limb paralysis will be able to move their hand and wave their appreciation to the university and to science.

Dr. Frances Shalit, Senior VP of Business Development in BIRAD, states: “We have already begun looking for a company that is suitable for implementing the invention, and BIRAD, naturally, reaches out initially to companies which manufacture solutions for neuro connectivity. Every business factor that wants to take part in completing the research and to own rights of the invention, is welcome to reach out to Birad and take an interest.”

 

For further details: Merav Burstein 972-77-3643534, 972-52-2229330 Merav@biraz.biz