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Israeli researchers find possible method for early detection of immune system aging

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The study, published in the journal Science Advances, was conducted by BGU and the National Institute of Biotechnology in the Negev, both located in the southern city of Beer Sheva.

Using technological measures, the researchers examined for the first time the changes that occur in the immune system as the age increases.

These changes accelerate the process of aging and the development of age-dependent diseases, such as diabetes, heart diseases, brain diseases and cancer, years before their physical symptoms appear.

So far, much information has accumulated in the context of changes that the immune system is undergoing in aging, which reduces the body’s immune efficiency and increases chronic infections.

However, there is a lack of understanding about the onset of the changes, their characterisation at the cellular and molecular level, as well as understanding the relationship between these changes and the risk of age-dependent diseases.

The Israeli team compared cells of young and adult mice and pointed to a series of biomarkers for early detection of the immune system aging which is the basis for neurodegenerative diseases.

After classifying thousands of immune cells computationally, and confirming the results in experiments, the researchers were surprised to discover types of cells not seen before aging, which indicated the changes in the immune system.

As a result, the researchers suggested a complete set of biomarkers that can detect and track changes in the immune system, thereby paying way for molecularly repairing them. (Xinhua/NAN)

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Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli soldiers over Israeli annexation plans

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A Palestinian protester holds national flags during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the Israeli annexation plans, near the West Bank city of Nablus, June 5, 2020. (Photo by Ayman Nobani/Xinhua)

(XINHUA)

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Roundup: Palestinians hold mass rallies against 53 years of Israeli occupation

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The Palestinians organized on Friday mass demonstrations in the Palestinian towns and regions to mark 53 years of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Hundreds of demonstrators joined a central rally organized by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party and other factions in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, told the crowd that the Palestinian leadership’s decision to end all agreements and understandings with Israel “is serious.”

“The decision was a serious response to the annexation plan,” said Zaki, accusing the United States of being unjust toward the Palestinian people by backing Israel’s annexation plan.

Similar protests took place in other towns and villages in the West Bank, some of which even escalated into violent clashes with the Israeli army.

Medical sources said dozens of Palestinians were injured by the Israeli soldiers’ rubber bullets and tear gas in the clashes in the villages in the suburbs of Ramallah and in the west of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

One Palestinian demonstrator was shot in his head by a rubber-coated metal bullet, while the other was shot in his chest, they said.

Dozens suffered suffocation after inhaling tear gas, the sources added.

Meanwhile, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) called on the international community to turn its position against the Israeli annexation plan from words into deeds.

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the PLO Executive Committee, said in a press statement that the international community should hold Israel accountable for its crimes.

He called on the international community to start practical steps toward recognizing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the territories Israel occupied on June 5, 1967.

Erekat accused Israel of allying itself with United States President Donald Trump to eliminate the Palestinian legitimate rights by declaring a plan to annex large areas in the West Bank.

“Israel is the one that started to annul the bilateral agreements by imposing facts on the ground through occupation,” he said.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas, which has been ruling Gaza since 2007, said in a press statement that the Israeli annexation plan “will never pass.”

All the attempts of the United States and Israel to take Jerusalem from the Palestinians, the Arabs and Muslims, as well as their attempts to uproot the Palestinian identity, will not succeed at all,” the statement noted.

(XINHUA)

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Palestinian official says ending Israeli occupation is int’l responsibility

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A senior Palestinian official on Friday said ending the Israeli occupation is an international responsibility.

Ending the Israeli occupation is a responsibility that rests with the international community, which must enable the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination, Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, said in a press statement.

Erekat accused Israel and the United States of liquidating Palestinian rights by announcing Israel’s plan of annexing Palestinian lands.

(XINHUA)

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We learn much from China in fighting COVID-19 pandemic: Israeli expert

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Israel has learned a lot from China in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and hopes there will be more scientific cooperation between Israel and China in the future, said Dina Ben-Yehuda, dean of School of Medicine at Hebrew University. Commenting on China‘s performance in its fight against the pandemic, she said Chinese physicians and scientists were “wise enough and responsible enough” to publish information, which helped the world save lives. She stressed the pandemic is a battlefield that leaves no place for competition and everybody has to work together to make changes.

(XINHUA)

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COVID-19 vaccine development requires international cooperation, say Israeli experts

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International collaboration is vital to quickly producing a COVID-19 vaccine to save lives worldwide, say Israeli medical experts.

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, multiple groups of researchers around the world have been working hard to find the cure or treatment as early as possible.

Dina Ben-Yehuda, dean of the medicine school at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said one country could hardly achieve success single-handedly in the vaccine development.

“We need international collaboration to save the world. And I hope that nobody will forget it,” she stressed.

Ben-Yehuda praised China for transparency in sharing its research findings regarding the coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fact that Chinese physicians and scientists felt a responsibility to publish everything, even the bad results, helped many people around the world and saved lives,” said Ben-Yehuda.

China shared the initial information about the virus DNA with all other countries so that every one of them could work on vaccines and treatments. This kind of collaboration should continue for the benefit of all humankind, according to the professor.

Oren Zimhony MD, head of the infectious diseases unit at Kaplan Medical Center, said the international collaboration now on creating a vaccine is stronger than ever.

There are approximately eight main directions taken to work out a vaccine for COVID-19. Such a variety of possibilities increased the odds of finding the right way to the desired result, according to Zimhony.

“The major game-changer to overcome this pandemic is vaccine development,” Zimhony said, who believes that the first clinical implications of the intense vaccine research will be available in six months.

Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the infection prevention control unit at Sheba Medical Center, believes that only a vaccine could stop the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

“It seems there is no proper treatment for COVID-19 disease patients, and the only effective global cure would be a vaccine,” she noted.

The biggest challenge in the work, according to Regev-Yochay, is to find a completely safe vaccine for everybody and a reliable way to deliver it to all kinds of people with different health situations.

“We need to be very cautious with vaccines. It’s much more complicated than clinical trials with the drugs,” stressed Regev-Yochay.

Many COVID-19 patients don’t have symptoms or have mild ones, “so we need to make sure we don’t inject them with vaccines, drugs, or chemicals that could do more harm than good,” she said.

International sharing of information could help researchers compare the effectiveness of different vaccines and speed up the progress of the development.

According to the statistics of the World Health Organization, currently more than 130 COVID-19 candidate vaccines are being developed worldwide, with about 10 of them being already in clinical evaluation.

Among the vaccine challenges is also its mass production for the use of all of humanity, which calls for global cooperation.

“We need to vaccinate billions of people around the globe. Better to do it before the upcoming winter to prevent the dangerous effect of dual infection of influenza and COVID-19,” said Zimhony.

Ben-Yehuda said she believes new technologies of computational medicine and international sharing of big data could help create personalized medicine for COVID-19 infection, as the virus affects people differently.

(XINHUA)

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Israeli scientists find way to overcome melanoma cells’ drug resistance

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Israeli researchers have discovered a new way for overcoming anti-cancer drug resistance in melanoma, the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) said Thursday.

According to world statistics, melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, killing one person every hour, while presenting a rapid resistance to molecular anti-cancer therapies.

A research led by the Technion have found that two proteins, RNF4 and eIF2-alpha, together play a major role in drug resistant melanoma.

The researchers examined melanoma tumors taken from patients that exhibit treatment resistance and found that the cancer-causing proteins (oncoproteins) in them were abnormally stabilized due to high levels of RNF4 that protect them from degradation.

Thus, the team observed that high levels of RNF4 in melanoma tumors correlate with poor prognosis and treatment resistance.

Furthermore, they found that RNF4‘s tumorigenic properties in melanoma, such as growth, formation, and therapy resistance, require the eIF2-alpha protein.

The team found that RNF4 binds to eIF2-alpha and stabilizes it, and in turn, eIF2-alpha helps RNF4 to develop resistance, creating a devastating positive feedback loop.

According to the scientists, the elucidation of the RNF4 protein pathway in melanoma and its dependency on eIF2-alpha protein may enable doctors to predict how a patients’ melanoma will respond to targeted therapies, allowing better personalized treatments.

The findings may also lead to new pharmacological treatment to selectively block this pathway, effectively destroying such treatment resistant melanoma tumors.

(XINHUA)

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Israeli scientists directly observe light flow using unique quantum microscope

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Israeli researchers have recorded flow of light using a unique quantum microscope, the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) said on Wednesday.

According to the Technion, this is a dramatic breakthrough in the field of quantum science, as a Technion research team directly observed the light trapped inside a photonic crystal.

In this research, published in the journal Nature, all the experiments were performed using a unique ultrafast transmission electron microscope, developed by the Technion.

Using the microscope, the scientists were able to change the color and angle of light that illuminates samples of nano materials and map their interactions with electrons.

“This is the first time we can actually see the dynamics of light while it is trapped in nano materials, rather than relying on computer simulations”, the researchers said.

This breakthrough may have an impact on numerous potential applications, including the design of new quantum materials for storing quantum basic units (bits) with greater stability.

Similarly, it can help improve the sharpness of colors on cell phones, televisions and other kinds of screens.

(XINHUA)

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Palestinians protest against Israeli annexation plans in West Bank city of Nablus

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Palestinians hold national flags during a protest against the Israeli annexation plans in the West Bank city of Nablus, June 3, 2020. The annexation is, in fact, part of United States President Donald Trump‘s peace plan for the Middle East, better known as the Deal of Century. (Photo by Nidal Eshtayeh/Xinhua)

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Palestinians rally against Israeli plan to annex West Bank lands

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Dozens of Palestinians on Wednesday held a protest in the West Bank city of Nablus, rejecting the Israeli plan to annex Palestinian lands.

The protesters called for “consolidation of the people’s resilience in their lands and escalation of popular resistance,” while raising Palestinian flags and slogans against the annexation of Palestinian lands.

“The escalation of popular resistance by all means on all fronts is the proper response to Israel’s plans,” said Jihad Ramadan, Fatah party’s secretary in Nablus, urging Hamas to end the internal division.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday night chaired a meeting for the crisis committee in charge of following up on Israel’s possible annexation plans and United States President Donald Trump‘s peace plan for the Middle East, better known as the Deal of the Century.

Following the meeting, Mahmoud al-Aloul, vice chairperson of the Fatah, told reporters that the leadership’s decision to disengage from all agreements and understandings with Israel and the United States “is final and will not be retracted as long as Israel is pressing ahead with the implementation of the Deal of the Century.”

Observers said the possible declaration by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of applying Israeli law on West Bank settlements and annexing large areas of the occupied territory in July would lead to violence and unrest.

The Israeli public radio reported that heads of Israeli security and army bodies will hold a meeting to discuss anticipated scenarios after Netanyahu’s declaration of annexation.

(XINHUA)

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