from the July 2014 issue

Israel Develops Blood Test to Detect Breast Cancer

Octava Pink test already available in Israel and Italy; FDA reviewing procedure for use in the US. Flash90
About 4,500 women in Israel are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, according to the Israel Cancer Association, and roughly 900 die annually from the disease. The key, experts say, is early detection - which can raise the survival rate to 90%.

Official state policies therefore promote bi-annual mammograms for women between ages 50-74. But what if a simple blood test could detect cancer even earlier?

Israeli company EventusDx made a major breakthrough in breast cancer treatment this month, reported Ruthie Blum at Israel21c, after completing an eight-year project to produce a cancer-detecting blood test.

Research team leader and molecular biologist Galit Yahalom, who spearheaded the project at the company's labs in Moshav Ora (outside of Jerusalem), explained the development to Blum Monday.

"For the last decade, we have known that there is a connection between cancer and the immune system," Yahalom, a mother and Modi'in native who has been working on this project since its inception, stated.

"We know that it recognizes cancer as an external enemy that must be destroyed. It is possible that each of us has had instances of cancer we were unaware of, because our immune systems killed it when it was still very small. For whatever reason, the immune system of people with cancer is not functioning properly."

Yahalom assembled a team of fifteen biologists and a computer expert to tackle the task of determining which proteins indicate breast cancer in a blood sample. To do so, the team examined the immune system activity of several groups of people, including healthy women, women with breast cancer, and both women and men with gender-specific cancers, e.g. ovarian cancer and prostate cancer.

Kontera's investors include Sequoia Capital, Carmel Ventures, and Tenaya Capital. "Globes" named the company as one of Israel's most promising start-ups in 2009. It was founded in 2000 by CEO Yoav Shaham and COO Assaf Henkin. The company is based in San Francisco and has its development center in Herzliya Pituach. Kontera provides an advertisement platform for websites that hyperlinks words to external content.

Functionally, Kontera's solutions resembles Google's text-based advertising mechanism, AdSense, except that AdSense appears on the side of a webpage, while Kontera's product appears within the text itself.

"We are excited to join forces with Adconion and Kontera, two companies that have led the industry with innovative marketing solutions and cutting edge technology to achieve outstanding returns for Fortune 500 companies," said Amobee CEO Mark Strecker. "Amobee offers the most advanced mobile advertising technology and solutions to large advertisers and publishers on a global scale. The digital advertising business is about scale and capitalizing on the market opportunities with technology as a core differentiator. With these two acquisitions announced today, we have extended our product offerings, increased our sales footprint and reinforced Amobee's leadership position in the fast growing digital advertising market."

"Data has become the essential ingredient to successfully reach the right customers with the right message at the right time," said Shaham. "Being a part of Amobee, we can more fully leverage our real-time content analysis platform across the entire digital ecosystem, enabling CMOs to measure and evaluate the success of their brand in ways never possible before."

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report July 2014

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