Some of the best doctors in the world are injecting new life into gravely ill patients of all ages at Sheba Medical Center (also known as Tel Hashomer) in Ramat Gan, Israel, where innovation is the essence of the hospital’s daily DNA.
Sheba Medical Center is the largest and most comprehensive facility of its kind in Israel and the Middle East region, as a whole. It was established 70 years ago during Israel’s War of Independence to treat wounded soldiers. As it has grown and developed with the State of Israel, Sheba Medical Center has transformed itself into an all-encompassing medical city. The Center is divided into two hospitals – acute and rehabilitation – which account for over one million visits annually and offers cutting-edge,
multifaceted care in nearly every discipline of medicine.
The current edition of Forbes Magazine’s “Best Doctors in Israel” (Hebrew), named 188 medical professionals at Sheba Medical Center as the “best in their field,” which amounts to an astounding 40% of all specialists within the Israeli medical system.
The government of Israel also recently chose Sheba Medical Center to become the nation’s first “City of Health”, where revolutionary technological innovations will help improve the quality of life and longevity of the Jewish State’s citizens.
“Israel serves as a global incubator of innovative ideas for a variety of reasons,” said Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, Deputy Director General, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Innovation Officer at Sheba Medical Center. “First of all, it’s in our genes. Secondly, there is the military aspect, where we are taught to improvise when necessary in the field. These things allow us to be naturally innovative. This has trickled down into the medical field, where we are offering the highest level of medical care.”
Dr. Zimlichman recently unveiled Sheba’s plans for its futuristic Innovation Center at a meeting for potential donors and investors in Manhattan.
Prime examples of Sheba Medical Center’s innovative efforts revolve around combating potentially fatal diseases such as cancer with immunotherapy, oncology’s new medical “magic bullet” and targeting hemophilia with a novel drug. Global pharmaceutical and biotech companies routinely conduct hundreds of clinical trials at Sheba during the year because of the medical center’s elite research and laboratory facilities.
Immunotherapy is a treatment that literally uses your body’s own immune system to invade and destroy cancer.
CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor) and TIL (Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes) cancer immunotherapies are not universal cancer cures at this stage. However, on-going clinical trials (conducted for major pharmaceutical companies and America’s National Institute of Health) at Sheba Medical Center’s oncology unit, where “end stage” cancer patients are being treated with CAR-T, which specifically targets leukemia and lymphoma, and TIL that zeroes in on melanoma and ovarian cancer patients, have injected new hope into dozens of patients, who were only weeks or months away from certain death.
Seventeen cancer stricken people were treated at Sheba during an initial CAR-T trial, after all of these patients had displayed zero improvement in the wake of traditional chemotherapy treatments and bone marrow transplants. Of those seventeen, 75% had a complete response to the
CAR-T treatment. One of those CAR-T patients, an 8 year-old girl from Bnei Brak, was the first child to achieve COMPLETE remission from childhood leukemia. A Sheba Medical Center oncologist boasted, “When we came to give her the CAR-T cells, she was very, very sick. She couldn’t even get out of bed. When we came back to visit her three weeks later, she was going back and forth on her rollerblades!”
There have been equally incredible results in the treatment of hemophilia.
Recently, a 1 year old boy, became the youngest patient in the world suffering from both severe Hemophilia A and an unusual allergy to be treated at Sheba Medical Center with a novel drug that only recently was approved for use in the USA. The drug developed by a biopharmaceutical company in the USA, contained a “bispecific antibody” that was injected into the child. According to clinical trial results published in the renowned NewEnglandJournalofMedicine, the new drug has shown a 90% reduction in bleeding in children and a 70% reduction in adults.
“This is a new exciting era with many novel options for improved care and even complete cure of patients with hemophilia,” boasted Professor Gili Kenet, Director of the National Hemophilia Center at Sheba Medical Center. “The child’s mother is so happy with the new treatment. The child had experienced a head trauma, but required no further therapy at all. Usually, this type of injury with a hemophiliac patient would involve hours in the Emergency Room ER with repeated doses of intravenous coagulation factors. However, there were no complications as his hemostasis (blood factors) was completely normal!”
At Sheba Medical Center, a troubling diagnosis is never a reason to give up hope. With its talented doctors discovering and working with new therapies, Sheba Medical Center is providing patients with the prescriptions for long and healthy lives.