First Responders: Sheba Medical Center Medical Delegation

A delegation from Sheba’s Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response arrived in the south African country of Zambia last Friday to treat cholera victims in Zambia, which is battling an outbreak of the disease. The outbreak has already claimed the lives of over 50 people. Israel is the first country to send a medical delegation to provide assistance.

Emergency Appeal to help 8 year old Parsis Shadkamian, suffering from Pearson Syndrome

The following is a personal plea for help for 8 year old Parsis Shadkamian.

“Parsis Shadkamian is an 8 year old girl who suffers from an extremely rare genetic disorder called “Pearson Syndrome“. The first signs of illness became apparent when she was 10 months old, at that time she was suffering from severe anemia, it was so bad that her blood hemoglobin levels dropped to 3. She was immediately put under blood transfusion therapy and this continued every 4 weeks until she was about 3 and half years old. At this time the diagnosis was “Diamond Blackfan Anemia.”

“Six months later, when she was 4, she started to have elevated blood sugar and was later diagnosed with “Secondary Diabetes” with iron overload (caused by blood transfusions) as the underlying cause. They started chelation therapy immediately to reduce the iron accumulation in the pancreas in the hope of ending the diabetes and the need for insulin; remember that at this time the diagnosis is still “Diamond Blackfan Anemia.” Chelation therapy included taking medicine and having phlebotomies every couple months.

“Parsis stopped growing from age 3 so growth failure was another issue we were having. After contacting her doctors and many tests later she was put on growth hormones briefly but later on December 3, 2013 she was hospitalized over a severe case of metabolic acidosis and we stopped growth hormones then. When admitted to the hospital she was about 20 pounds only, even though she was 6 years old. She was so thin and emaciated looking that we couldn’t bare to look at her naked body. She had no interest in eating and never again was able to eat by mouth, therefore doctors decided it’s best if she has an NG tube for feeding and 2 months later on February 2014 she was finally diagnosed with “Pearson Syndrome.””

You can read more information about this disease by going to this link:

“Keep in mind that this disease is very progressive and as the patient gets older the symptoms become more and worse. Parsis now has Pancreatic Insufficiency (diabetes), Chronic Kidney failure stage 4, growth failure, central sleep apnea and she has almost lost the ability to walk and her eyes are closed shut and spends most of her life on the sofa laying down.”

Please give what you can to help this little girl and her family.

3 times prizewinners


A study by Sheba researcher Dr. Omer Schwartzman has won awards around the world for its groundbreaking understanding of the role genetics play in childhood leukemia.

The study began by considering the occurrence of leukemia in children with Down’s Syndrome, who are 20 times more likely to be diagnosed with the most common type of childhood leukemia and experience higher chances of relapse. This points to a genetic component to the occurrence and successful treatment of childhood leukemia.

Researchers utilized innovative genomic sequencing procedures to analyze leukemia samples taken at diagnosis and relapse of the disease in 31 children. To their surprise, they saw that the majority of these tumors were characterized by genetic mutations that trigger increased intercellular signaling (as previous Sheba studies had shown). On the other hand, they also found that these mutations were not always identical in diagnosis and relapse. Meaning that these genetic mutations don’t just help leukemia to grow, under certain circumstances they could also prevent these cells from thriving.

Another remarkable finding of the study was that a mutation exists that decreases intracellular signaling. However, instead of preventing or slowing the leukemia’s development, the study demonstrated that under specific circumstances this mutation actually helped the leukemia survive. “It’s like the importance of getting the voltage right for an electrical appliance,” explained Dr. Omer Schwartman, who led the study. “If the voltage is too high or too low, the machine won’t function efficiently.” Similarly, if a child’s intracellular signaling is too frequent or infrequent, the leukemia will remain.

The most astonishing finding of the study was that innovative drugs designed to decrease the intracellular signaling and treat leukemia, might actually be backfiring, paradoxically nurturing leukemia cells when administered in low dosages.

“Our study demonstrated yet another level of complexity in the genesis leukemia and the failure to treat them,” said Dr. Schwartzman. “We’ve uncovered another mechanism that could be contributing to this complexity.”

This new research may well be the catalyst for a broad reevaluation in intracellular manipulation in the treatment of childhood leukemia. As a result, it is already receiving international recognition. To date the study has been awarded: the Outstanding PhD student award at the 22nd International Conference of the European Hematology Association, the Tel Aviv University Faculty of medicine Prize for Outstanding Publication by a Doctoral Student and the Dean’s Award for the Faculty of Medicine MD PhD student 2017.

Annual Sheba Gala Dinner Celebrates 50 Years of Excellence in Gynecology & Maternity Care


Sheba Medical Center gathered to celebrate 50 years of excellence in gynecology and maternity care at its annual Sheba Gala Dinner in Tel Aviv in June 2017.

Under a beautiful spring evening sky, guests of the annual gala mingled with Sheba Medical Center’s doctors and executives to celebrate the accomplishments of the Josef Buchmann Gynecology and Maternity Center, including the “birth” of its new cutting-edge neonatal unit.

The dinner, which took place in the hospital’s expansive southern park, broke records in both attendance and philanthropy, with over one thousand attendees.

Vered Greenboim, who chairs the Israeli Friends of Sheba, said, “The magnificent donations truly excite me each and every year and the growing number of participants and their generous hearts are never, ever to be taken for granted. Therefore, I must thank every one of our friends for their support and faith in what we do, year after year.”

This year two of the hospital’s most renowned and dedicated families, Lev and Mrs. Olga Leviev and David and Galia Arbov, were recognized with Certificates of Honor, presented to them at the lavish event.

Avid supporters, including Health Minister, Rabbi Yaakov Litzman and Mrs. Galia Maor as well as a mélange of celebrities from the business, medical, political and entertainment spheres, were entertained by an array of top Israeli entertainers including superstar singer, Yuval Dayan, and comedians Adir Miller and Orna Banai.

Professor Yitshak Kreiss, Director General of the Sheba Medical Center, noted, “The ability to think outside the box and push the boundaries even when things look almost impossible and find logical solutions to acute medical issues is what has transformed Sheba into a truly unique hospital in the region. The dedication of our supporters will enable Sheba to fulfill its vision of becoming the leading medical facility and hospital in the nation during the next decade.”

It’s no small thing

It’s no small thing – Sheba develops groundbreaking new research techniques using mice

Sheba’s far-reaching research capacities are pushing the boundaries of medical knowledge on a daily basis. From the commonplace to the most rare medical conditions, Sheba’s researchers are working to better save lives with new treatments. Techniques developed in one research study often fuel innovations in other areas.

In the search for a better understanding into Angiomyolipoma, a form of amniotic kidney tumor, Sheba researchers created a model of the tumor in mice mimicking the human version of the tumor allowing them to conduct more detailed analysis of the tumor than ever before. This breakthrough has potential to open the development of many new drugs that previously could not be tested on animals.

Led by Prof. Benjamin Dekel, of the Pediatric Stem Cell Research Institute and the Director of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital at Sheba, this groundbreaking study replicated the amniotic kidney tumor in mice. This unusual form of tumor is made up of three types of tissue: veins, smooth muscle, and fat, typically appearing in patients with the genetic disease Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC).

Using the mouse model, the team was then able to identify the protein PPARG as a key protein in the formation and growth of the human. Indeed, when the tumor was treated with PPARG inhibitors, the tumor’s growth dramatically halted and significantly lost the ability to grow once they were injected back into the mice.

Though researchers from around the globe have set their sights on unmasking this tumor, as, until now they were unable to conduct animal testing, much remained unknown about the cells from which the growth is conceived, and indeed about the mechanisms that cause it to appear and grow. What medications had been developed to treat this tumor (inhibitors of the mTOR path) are only effective in some of the patients, underscoring the urgent need for new treatments.

Thanks to Prof. Dekel and his team, a significant step has been taken towards the development of effective treatments for this rare form of cancer. It remains to be seen how many other life-saving treatments will come into being as a result of their groundbreaking research technique.


Waging war on hospital infection

Sheba and Galilee Medical Centers work together in The Magen Chaim Initiative

Lives are being lost in places where they should be saved. Hospital infections currently claim as many as 5,000 lives every year in Israel. Sheba is leading the fight against hospital infections, disclosing its own infection rates and calling on other hospitals to do the same.

With awareness that this issue goes beyond the bounds of any one hospital, Sheba Medical Center has partnered with the Galilee Medical Center as part of a nationwide campaign to cut the hospital infection rate by half in 2017.

This cooperation started with the mutual release of current infection rates at both hospitals, information which was not previously made public. Professor Yitzchak Kreiss, Director of Sheba Medical Center and one of the initiative’s leaders, remarked, “We are in the process of implementing a cultural change by encouraging transparency in the public medical system. And for the first time we decided to disclose, together with the Galilee Medical Center, the types of commonly acquired infections that will be used as basis for survey and supervision.”

The national initiative, known as the “Magen Chaim Initiative,” is run in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and the National Initiative Fund. The National Initiative Fund is investing 10 million shekels towards combatting hospital infections.

As one of the largest medical centers in Northern Israel, the Galilee Medical Center was an obvious partner for Sheba, with close to 2 million patients per year passing through the two hospitals. Prof. Kreiss said, “It’s no coincidence we are working with the Galilee Medical Center. Our common goal is reducing the infection rate and by that, also reducing the infection-caused death rate. We are working to establish true cooperation between the two medical facilities.”

Dr. Masad Barhoum, Director of the Galilee Medical Center, added, “Our responsibility towards our patients is what drove us to do all we can, so that people in Northern Israel can enjoy the best medical treatments possible. Our ward for premature babies showed zero infections during the past year. We are glad to share our knowledge and experience in order to dramatically reduce this wide-scale problem.”

All eyes are on the Sheba – Galilee partnership in the months ahead, with Israelis from around the country awaiting a successful outcome. The head of the National Initiative Fund, Gadi Lesin, explained, “A heavy responsibility lies on the shoulders of the directors and medical workers at the Sheba and Galilee Medical Centers. We will provide all the assistance we can behind the scenes to make sure the initiative is a success. We thank you for answering the call and taking this mission upon yourselves.”

Dr. Anat Ekka-Zohar, Director of Quality, Service and Safety Management in the Ministry of Health, had the greatest confidence in staff of both institutions, saying, “I’m certain we’ll witness the reduction of infection in both medical centers as a result of this initiative. Your dedication is admirable, we believe in you.”

Sheba shares its heart with the North


Sheba’s dedication to healthcare goes far beyond its own walls. From international medical innovations to building up the level of healthcare around Israel, Sheba is committed to saving lives wherever there is a need. Having invested in staff training and professional development, Sheba is now sharing its expertise bringing high quality healthcare to more remote areas of Israel.

As part of this commitment, Sheba entered into a partnership with Poriya Medical Center in Tiberias to help fill a pressing need for cardiac treatments. Sheba Medical Center’s senior cardiac surgeon, Dr. Erez Kachel, now has a dual role as the Head of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit at Poriya.

The unit provides a vital service for people living in northern Israel. Dr. Kachel explained, “People living in central Israel have 6 Cardiothoracic Surgery Units to choose from. Before we opened the unit at Poriya, someone living in the Galilee/Golan Heights regions would have to drive almost two hours to the closest cardiothoracic surgery unit.”

Now, residents of the north are able to receive the same level of service as Israelis in Israel’s center, thanks to the full range of heart treatments being performed at Poriya. The surgical success rate at Poriya stands level with that of Sheba.

As a result of the hard work and cooperation of the medical staff, the unit was successful from its inception. Dr. Kachel related, “Our journey began in November 2014, when we started building the new unit at Poriya. The plan was to perform about 70 surgeries during the first year. In reality, the rate of surgeries performed doubled. We performed 130 heart surgeries in the first 10 months!”

Although the unit at Poriya was created to meet a local need, it has also drawn patients from Central Israel and Haifa. Dr. Kachel is a leader in the area of post-cardiac surgery infections in Israel, and his expertise has attracted patients from out of the area to receive treatment.

Dr. Kachel is quick to praise the Sheba team for their contribution. “It’s important to acknowledge that without the professional and logistic support of Sheba’s staff – Professor Raanani and the medical management who dedicated themselves to the success of the program – we would not be where we are today.”

Other senior heart surgeons from Sheba who are taking part in this initiative include: Dr. Leonid Sternik, Dr. Alexander Lipey, Dr. Ami Shinfeld. Dr. Amgad Shelby and Dr. Eyal Nachum.

When needed, other staff members from Sheba are also called upon to assist with the surgical procedures, including anesthesiologists, cardiopulmonary bypass technicians and O.R nurses. Medical equipment is also loaned to Poriya as needed.

14-year-old terror victim Ayala’s speech to European Parliament

Ayala Shapira, 14, severely burned by Molotov cocktail in 2014, and her mother Ruth, speak at European Parliament pro-Judea and Samaria lobby.

reposted from Arutz Sheva, Israel National News

Ayala Shapira, ב’ בניסן תשע”ז, 3/29/2017

(Photo of Ayala taken before the terrorist attack.)


In 2014, Ayala Shapira was on her way home, in her father’s car, from a math club for intellectually gifted children.A Molotov cocktail changed her life, almost taking it. She survived and is fighting a courageous and painful, but slowly successful fight to return to normalcy. The pro-Israel lobby of the European Parliament invited Ayala and her mother to speak at their founding meeting. Here are the brave child’s words:

I am Ayala, almost fourteen. I live in El Matan in the Shomron; I like to read, write stories and draw. I would like to describe to you what it feels like to have a terrorist attack directed at you.

The truth is, at the moment it happened I didn’t really understand what was happening. I saw a ball of light coming towards us. My father quickly stepped on the brakes. The ball of light shattered my window and landed between us. It was a Molotov cocktail.  I remember that everything around us was burning. I thought I was going to die.

Afterwards, I started to act.  I tried to open my door, but wasn’t able to.  I was sure that the central door lock had melted in the heat, but then, my father opened the door from the other side.  My entire left side was on fire, but I couldn’t free my seat belt with my left hand, so I put my right hand into the flames, too. Then, I just started running. My father told me to roll around on the road to put out the fire burning me.

I want you to remember that sometimes when you think you are contributing to a peaceful cause, you’re actually contributing to murder, pain and war.

Only then did I begin to feel pain. I told my father that his shirt was also on fire and I asked him to also roll around on the road, but he didn’t stop. He wanted to save me first. 

I was hospitalized for eight months; that’s where I understood that my life was about to change drastically. Sometimes, I really miss being outside and feeling the sun and doing all the things I want to do.  The hardest thing is when people look at me. I see it.  I most appreciate the people who don’t try to hide it; they look at me but ask what happened to me – why am I all covered up?

One of the terrorists who threw the Molotov cocktail at our car was a sixteen year old boy – only a few years older than me. He did it, among other reasons, to help his family economically; he knew that if he is put into prison, the Palestinian Authority would take care of them.
I want you to remember that sometimes when you think you are contributing to a peaceful cause, you’re actually contributing to murder, pain and war.

Ruth Shapira, Ayala’s young mother, speaks:

Honorable Members of Parliament, Friends of Judea and Samaria, Shomron Regional Council Chairman Yossi Dagan, Honored Guests,

I arrived here from Israel only yesterday, with my daughter Ayala, who today is almost fourteen years old. We flew more than 3 thousand kilometers – because I understand that we have the responsibility of telling you our story.

My name is Ruth, and I am the mother of six daughters, of whom Ayala is the eldest. We have lived in the Jewish Community El Matan in the Shomron for the past fifteen years.

About 2 years ago, on a Thursday evening, as I was preparing dinner for my daughters, expecting Ayala and my husband, Avner who was supposed to drive Ayala home from a class for gifted children in math in Kfar Saba, I received the phone call that changed our lives. Avner, called and told me, “We’ve been hit by a Molotov cocktail, my battery is dying, call the police” – and hung up. The first thought that passed through my mind was – have we only lost our car or G-d forbid,  lost our daughter.

That moment I stopped thinking and did everything to get them help as quickly as possible.

They didn’t wait for rescue forces on the empty road and began making it home on foot. When I saw them, Avner’s shirt was still on fire. I saw the extent of Ayala’s injuries only after she entered the house, in the light. She had horrible burns on her face and neck, on her chest, on her back and on the palms of both her hands.    My brave child walked all that way on her own before the rescue forces reached her. They entered the house.

On the way to the hospital, I realized that the situation was more serious than I had thought. Avner was hospitalized for several weeks, while Ayala was hospitalized for three weeks in intensive care, for two months in the regular ward and an additional five months in a rehabilitation ward. She suffered 30 per cent second and third degree burns on her face and her upper torso; she has undergone six operations and is expected to undergo more surgery in the future.

Today, my brave Ayala, who bears all this gracefully, must wear a pressure garment twenty four hours a day. She mustn’t be exposed to sunlight, which greatly limits her activity. She can’t go on trips, can’t get to extra-curricular activities or to her youth club on her own. She has to be driven everywhere; we must check out every school activity before she can participate in it, and she visit the hospital twice a month. She has “minor” operations on a regular basis.

While our lives changed, the lives of the terrorists’ families changed, too. They receive a salary every month from The Palestinian Authority- a reward for their terrorist attacks. This is money they receive from you, from the countries of the European Union, who transfer hundreds of millions of Euros a year to the Palestinian Authority without any supervision.

By doing so, the countries that this Parliament represents, cause the murder of israelis. All of this is enabled by the European taxpayer. Hundreds of millions of Euros are transferred annually from the European Union to the Palestinian Authority, which finances, among other groups, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Organization, schools named after terrorists who murdered children, schools calling for terror, and others.

I call out to you, members of the European Parliament, members of the Group of Friends of Judea and Samaria – to stop this kafkaesque absurdity; to stop the encouragement of killing and destroying families done by the countries this House represents.

The European representatives can no longer claim ignorance. Alongside Ayala stand, waiting for your determined reaction: The Fogel Family, a father, a mother, a baby and two children murdered in their beds on a Friday night, and whose murderers’ blood-stained hands receive a monthly financial reward for this murder – from you; the four people who were murdered while out with their friends and families in the Sarona compound in Tel Aviv – only because they were Jews; the thirty people murdered while celebrating the Passover seder night in the Park Hotel in Netanya, and thousands of other Israeli terror victims (may G-D avenge their blood) and their families. The thousands of children and families whose addition to the circle of bereavement you can prevent.

I call out to you as a mother who is trying to stop this craziness; to act immediately to stop financing the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian organizations until there is clarification and transparency for the path the money is taking, and to stop the financing of murderers. It is unthinkable that under the guise of peace and humanitarian motives of this House, hundreds of millions of Euros should be transferred to the Palestinian Authority – hundreds of millions of Euros that lead to the murdering of innocent people. It is in your hands.

Thank You

Dr. Itai Pessach, Medical Director at Intensix to Present at ISICEM 2017

Reposted from prweb

Findings show that continuous analysis of the modified SOFA score by an intelligent automated system can detect and predict significant clinical outcomes

Intensix, developer of a real-time predictive analytics platform for prediction of patient deterioration in the ICU and high acuity departments of hospitals, announced today that the company’s Medical Director, Dr. Itai Pessach will be presenting at the 37th International Symposium on Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (ISICEM).

The poster presentation will discuss a segment of the results achieved as part of Intensix proof of concept trial at the Tel Aviv Medical Center. The presentation will focus on a computerized model used to continuously calculate a modified SOFA score to predict patient outcomes in the ICU. The analysis and model development was performed on a database of 629 septic patients with severe hemodynamic instability events admitted to a general ICU in a tertiary medical center between 2007 and 2014, and validated in 92 patients with such events admitted during 2015.

The International Symposium on Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine is organized by the departments of Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine of Erasme University Hospital, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, in association with the Belgian Society of Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (SIZ). The meeting is one of the largest in its field, now attracting more than 6000 participants from countries world-wide. The objectives of this four day symposium are to provide participants with an up to date review of the most recent, clinically relevant, developments in research, therapy, and management of the critically ill.

Dr. Pessach is a Senior Pediatric Critical Care Physician and the Deputy Director of the Edmond and Lily Safra Children hospital, Sheba Medical Center. Dr. Pessach is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Tel-Aviv University. He is certified in allergy immunology and in pediatric critical care. He has a broad background in basic and clinical research and has published extensively in the fields of pediatric immunology and critical care. Dr. Pessach holds an MD, Ph.D. degree from the Ben-Gurion University and has trained both at Sheba medical center as well as at Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School.

About Intensix

Intensix provides healthcare providers and administrators with high-accuracy predictive analytics that improve clinical outcomes and reduce hospital costs. The Intensix innovative analytics solution detects deterioration in real-time and delivers predictive warnings during all phases of a patient’s stay in the ICU and other high-acuity departments. Driven by innovative predictive modelling and advanced high-dimensional analytics techniques, the Intensix platform has the flexibility to manage entire patient populations as well as individualized treatment needs.

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