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Rambam Doctors Involved in Development of Cutting-edge Medical Technologies

Publication Date: 1/21/2020 10:00 AM | by: Rambam

Doctors at Rambam Health Care Campus took part in the development of a device to target solid tumors with atmospheric plasma as well as the development of 3D engineered heart tissue. Both projects involved cooperation with the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

Dr. Iddo Paldor, Deputy Director of the Department of Neurosurgery, using the new microscope during surgery. Photography: Professor Lior Gepstein, Director of Rambam’s Department of Cardiology. Photography: Spokesperson's Office, RHCCDr. Iddo Paldor, Deputy Director of the Department of Neurosurgery, using the new microscope during surgery. Photography: Professor Lior Gepstein, Director of Rambam’s Department of Cardiology. Photography: Spokesperson's Office, RHCC

Doctors and researchers at Rambam Health Care Campus recently played prominent roles in the development of two innovative medical technologies, partnering with the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology on each project. One is a device that triggers the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells, while the other is the 3D engineering of heart tissue that can be used to personalize drugs and develop new therapies.

Targeting Cancer Cells

The device used to treat cancer was developed in collaboration with the Technion and Israel-based startup CAPS Medical. It uses Cold Atmospheric Plasma (CAP) technology, which targets selectively cancer cells using a high-energy stream of gas, leaving the healthy cells untouched. Earlier devices using this technology only treated superficial solid tumors, and were not small enough to target internal solid tumors.

CAPS Medical CEO, Ilan Uchitel, told The Jerusalem Post that the company’s device “is the first to enable CAP treatment in minimally invasive procedures, using small-diameter disposable catheters on internal solid tumor types,” adding that, “the innovation that resulted from the collaboration was the ability to produce CAP at the tip of a flexible small diameter tube-like device, allowing access to tumors on internal organs without harming surrounding essential tissue for the first time.”

Producing 3D Engineered Cardiac Tissue

While their colleagues were busy collaborating with CAPS Medical and Technion researchers, Professor Lior Gepstein, Director of the Department of Cardiology at Rambam and head of the Sohnis Family Research Laboratory for Cardiac Electrophysiology and Regenerative Medicine at the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Research Institute, Technion‒Israel Institute of Technology, led a team of researchers from Rambam, the Technion, and Canada’s University Health Network in a study that succeeded in producing 3D engineered cardiac tissue from embedded human stem cells. The tissues, which simulate atrial and ventricular tissues, will be used in the near future to customize drug and drug therapy. In the more distant future, the new technology is expected to be used to make implants for damaged heart and ventricular areas.

The unique research tools developed in this study – surgical tissue and engineered tissue, and the innovative methods to investigate them – may revolutionize the field of drug development as well as the ability to personally tailor drugs to the patient from which the tissue was produced (personalized medicine). In the long run, Professor Gepstein hopes that, “We can use similar methods to also produce heart tissue that will be used for heart disease transplants. These tissues will be well absorbed because they are based on the genetic characteristics of the patient itself and not a foreign donor.”

For more information about the CAP device, read this Jerusalem Post article: Israeli Startup Creates New Tech

For more information about the 3D engineered cardiac tissue study, see this publication from Nature:
Generating ring-shaped engineered heart tissues from ventricular and atrial human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes