Radical new drug-testing tech could dramatically cut animal testing
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Israeli human-on-a-chip platform has the unique ability to predict risk of toxicity in pharma and cosmetic product candidates without animal testing.
After spending an average of $2.5 billion to develop a single new drug, sometimes pharma companies have to pull it from the market due to a bad outcome that was not detected in clinical studies.
That’s what happened in 2000, when a promising Type 2 diabetes drug called troglitazone led to idiosyncratic (unexplained) liver damage in one of every 60,000 users.
The troglitazone mystery wasn’t solved until March 2016, when a novel “liver-on-a-chip” platform developed by Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Yaakov Nahmias revealed what no animal or human tests could: even low concentrations of this drug caused liver stress before any damage could be seen.
Israeli company empowers female farmers in Latin America
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Growing demand for natural annatto food coloring creates a unique ecosystem for subsistence farmers.
In Peru, Brazil, Guatemala and other Latin American countries, many women are the primary breadwinners and struggle to support their families through subsistence farming.
The Israeli multinational flavor and fragrance producer Frutarom Group has launched a unique collaboration with a local agriculture partner that aims to empower these women by employing them to help meet the growing demand for natural annatto coloring.
How to turn a jellyfish sting into something good
By ISRAEL21c Staff
Israeli researchers are deciphering the stinging mechanism of the jellyfish, hoping it will provide ideas for improved drug delivery.
Swarms of jellyfish hit the Mediterranean coast every summer but they’ve arrived a bit earlier than usual this year. That’s indicative of the steadily growing quantity of the dreaded blob-like creatures worldwide.
Anyone who’s ever had an unfortunate encounter with jellyfish knows that these aquatic animals can give a nasty sting. It’s how they attack their prey (plankton) and defend themselves.
The stinging cells in a jellyfish contain tiny syringes that are actually poison arrows, say Israeli researchers who are the first to explain the unique stinging mechanism of the nomad jellyfish.
Discovering the growing magic of biochar
By Lin Arison & Diana C. Stoll/The Desert and the Cities Sing for Israel21c
New research by an Israeli scientist shows that biochar-stimulated improvements in plant growth are linked to increased microbial diversity in the root zone.
When scientists and laypeople alike learn about biochar for the first time, they usually are intrigued by the seeming “magic powers” of this black powder. People with gardens and farms want to know how to use it, and scientists want to understand whether the stories they hear about it can possibly be true, and if yes, how does it work?
Biochar is the solid product of treating organic matter wastes by pyrolysis, which is the technical word for burning organic materials in the absence of oxygen. Generally, we are familiar with combustion, that is, burning that takes place in the presence of oxygen.
We finally know why eggs are so different in shapes and sizes
by Jaime Bender for FromtheGrapevine
Scientists make a surprising discovering while studying hundreds of bird species.
How do you like your eggs? Scrambled, sunny side up, hard-boiled, over easy?
If you're one of the distinguished scientists studying the diversity in shapes and sizes of eggs, your answer might be somewhere in the area of "pointy, oblong, asymmetrical, coneheaded."
Those scientists – who hail from the U.K., the U.S., Israel and Singapore – have hatched some pretty revealing conclusions from studying more than 1,400 species of birds to determine how their eggs developed their unique shapes and sizes. For example, why are the eggs of brown hawk owls almost perfectly spherical, while those of the common murre and sandpiper are shaped more like teardrops?