Five honor students from ORT Achva Gilboa High School were able to develop a device to help diminish side effects caused by chemotherapy in patients suffering from head cancer. This week they will compete against inventions by dozens of other countries in an international competition in the Netherlands.
The project already won second place in a local contest held between 150 Israeli schools.
One of the students who invented the device, Dima Zoabi, 13, from the Arab city of Tamra located in the Lower Galilee, revealed the source of inspiration for the project.
"My father's cousin was diagnosed with brain cancer. We saw what she had to go through and that's how I got exposed to this issue of side effects patients suffer from due to chemotherapy," she explained.
"I kept thinking of an idea to help relieve their suffering. I found out the social issue, the connection with people, is a problem for patients, because of the hair loss and other side effects," she added. "I began to study the issue, and we met with Dr. Herzel Gabriel, head of the Oncology Unit at Haemek Medical Center in Afula."
Gabriel explained his goal was to help find an effective solution for the chemotherapy with minimum side effects. "Today's treatment is given in the form of injections to the vein, but the downside is that that is spreads throughout the body and causes the familiar side effects such as hair loss and hormonal and fertileness problems," he said.
"These girls came up with a wig attached with sensors that can recognize the diseased cells and inject the treatment only to these cells using micro-needles, without damaging brain tissue."
'No such thing in the world'
Mohammad Zoabi, the girls' teacher, added: "The chemotherapy is injected in precise doses and doesn't harm healthy cells."
Gabriel believes this is an important invention which might prevent the terrible side effects caused today by chemotherapy. "When this device will be put into use it will offer a solution to millions of patients world wide. There is no such thing in the world."
"We were inspired to use the Chinese method of treatment, using needles to heal the infected area in the body," explained 14-year-old Asalah Ziadat from the Arab town of Muqeible, located in the Gilboa Regional Council.
Gilboa Regional Council Head Danny Atar motioned this is not the first time students from ORT Achva Gilboa have represented the region in the world. "Last year students of the school won a competition and represented us in the United States. This year they're also representing Israel wearing the State flag. It just goes to show it doesn't matter if you're Jewish or Arab – what's important is how much you invest in something and the achievements."
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