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Israeli Researchers: We Can Detect Breast Cancer With Simple Blood Test

Israeli Researchers: We Can Detect Breast Cancer With Simple Blood Test
Uzi Blumer

TEL AVIV — An Israeli company says it has developed an easy and accurate new method for detecting breast cancer.

The technique, developed by the company Eventus Diagnostics, involves a simple blood test measuring how the body's immune system reacts to the presence of a cancer tumor. Eventus Diagnostics, located near Jerusalem in Moshav Ora and employing 15 people, plans to market the test under the name "Octava Pink."

When a blood sample containing cancer antibodies comes in contact with a specific protein, a reaction occurs a few hours later that can be observed in a microscope scan. This indication can lead the doctor to look for a tumor using more traditional breast cancer diagnosis techniques, such as a mammogram, ultrasound or an MRI, which, on their own, can sometimes be inconclusive.

Dr. Galit Yahalom, vice president of company's research and development department, points out that the new test is not a substitute for today's existing examinations, but rather a complementary tool. The test is suitable in cases where there is a risk that the imaging test results are a false negative or when the test results came back unclear.

In the case of young women, for example, relatively dense breast tissue makes it difficult to locate tumors with a mammogram. Alerted by the blood test, doctors might therefore choose to look for the tumor via other means. According to recent health statistics, breast cancer affects one in seven women in the Western world.

Yahalom and her team developed the test based on research involving 1,000 women. He claims it has a detection rate of 97% among healthy women and 70% among women with breast cancer. The test has been approved for marketing in Israel and in the European Union. Eventus Diagnostics is currently seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Society

Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.


The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.

Hollandse-Hoogte/ZUMA

Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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