Tel Aviv University study may lead to melanoma cure

Metastatic_Melanoma_Cells_Nci-vol-9872-300Story Via: Times of Israel

Researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) say they have unraveled the metastatic mechanism of melanoma, the most aggressive of all skin cancers.

According to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the scientists discovered that before spreading from the epidermis — the outer layer of the skin where the disease originates — to other organs, a melanoma tumor sends out tiny vesicles containing molecules of microRNA. These cause morphological changes in the dermis — the inner layer of the skin — to prepare it to receive and transport the cancer cells. The researchers also found chemical substances that can stop the process and are therefore promising drug candidates.

“The threat of melanoma is not in the initial tumor that appears on the skin, but rather in its metastasis — in the tumor cells sent off to colonize in vital organs like the brain, lungs, liver and bones,” said research leader Dr. Carmit Levy of the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine. “We have discovered how the cancer spreads to distant organs and found ways to stop the process before the metastatic stage.”

The TAU group worked in close collaboration with researchers from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer, Israel and the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel.

Melanoma, the most aggressive and lethal type of skin cancer, causes the death of one person every 52 minutes according to data from the Skin Cancer Foundation, and the number of diagnosed cases has been on the rise for the past three decades. Despite a range of therapies developed over the years, there is still no full remedy for this life-threatening disease. The new study proposes new and effective methods for diagnosing and preventing this most deadly of skin cancers, the TAU said in a statement.

The researchers began by examining pathology samples taken from melanoma patients. “We looked at samples of early melanoma, before the invasive stage,” Levy said. “To our surprise we found changes in the morphology of the dermis — the inner layer of the skin — that had never before been reported. Our next task was to find out what these changes were, and how they related to melanoma.”

Read more at Times Of Israel

 

Jewish ‘Stone Age’ factory from time of Jesus surfaces in Galilee

Story Via: Times Of Israel

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 9.19.02 PMIn a limestone cave halfway between Nazareth and the biblical town of Cana, archaeologists recently unearthed a first century CE workshop that produced stone vessels similar to those that held the water Jesus turned into wine.

Several stone bowls and cups in various stages of completion were found in the bowels of the cave, suggesting the cave may have been been home to an active stone goods manufactory. The site, known today as Einot Amitai, is the first stoneware manufacturing site of its kind to be found in the Galilee from the Second Temple Era, researchers said.

While evidence of chalkstone vessel production has been found at other sites in the Galilee, only at Einot Amitai have archaeologists found a quarry and workshop where they were made.

The cave was found in 2001 when residents of the nearby town were bulldozing a plot of land and breached the cavern. A limited survey of the site indicated it may have been involved in the production of limestone goods, but archaeologists only launched a more comprehensive dig this August.

Read More At Times of Israel

U.S. Acknowledges Cash Payment to Iran Was ‘Leverage’ in Prisoner Release

Story Via: Wall Street Journal

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State Department confirms U.S. refused to allow Iran to take $400 million cash payment until plane carrying freed Americans left Tehran

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration said for the first time on Thursday that its $400 million cash payment to Iran in January was used as “leverage” to gain the release of American prisoners, fueling criticism that the exchange amounted to a U.S. payment of ransom.

State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed that the U.S. refused to allow Iran to take possession of the cash until a plane carrying the freed Americans had taken off from Tehran.

“If you’re asking me was there a connection in that regard, at the end game, I’m not going to deny that,” Mr. Kirby said at a State Department press briefing.

“We took advantage of leverage that we felt we could have to make sure that they got out safely and efficiently,” he added.

Mr. Kirby was responding to questions about a report in The Wall Street Journal disclosing that an Iranian cargo plane was not permitted by the U.S. to leave Geneva with $400 million in euros, Swiss francs and other currencies until the Americans had left Tehran.

The exchange took place on Jan. 17.

Administration officials, including President Barack Obama, have said the cash payment was not ransom because the $400 million was money the U.S. already owed to Iran over a failed arms deal from more than three decades ago.

U.S. officials also have said that the prisoner release and the arms-deal settlement took place through two separate diplomatic channels, and denied that the two were linked.

Read more at WSJ

With cardiac surgery, Israeli team saves Afghani boy’s life

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Story Via Times of Israel

A baby boy born in Afghanistan with multiple heart defects received life-saving surgery in Israel thanks to a Facebook friendship and a covert operation that traversed enemy borders and diplomatic lines.

During a trip to their homeland they spoke with an English-speaking relative, Farhad Zaheer, living in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, who reached out on social media to his contacts. Anna Mussman, 69, a daughter of Holocaust survivors living in Israel, answered his call. According to the Times report, Zaheer remembered Mussman because she had commented kindly on his previous posts.

Mussman contacted Simon Fisher, executive director of the Israeli charity Save a Child’s Heart. “I realize helping a child from a country which Israel has no diplomatic relations is not easy, but perhaps possible,” she emailed him. “Thanks so much and Shabbat Shalom.”

It was not simple to arrange, and involved calling in all sorts of favors and using many different contacts, but ultimately Yehia was brought to Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center, and was operated on in an eight-hour surgery.

Read more at: Times of Israel