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The World is Jealous of Israel, Says Nanotechnology Leader

One day, a pill could use nanites to eliminate cancer cells from within the body without harming the body's own cell, says Rafi Koriat.
By Shimon Cohen and Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 3/25/2014, 8:29 AM

Israeli medical researcher (illustrative)
Israeli medical researcher (illustrative)
Flash 90

Over 1,200 delegates from 36 countries flooded into Tel Aviv on Tuesday for the Israeli Nanotechnology Conference.

Arutz Sheva spoke with nanotech industry leader Rafi Koriat, co-chairman and founder of the conference, who stated that nanotechnology will be the face of the next technological revolution.

Koriat began by noting that a larger number of guests than expected are attending this year's conference, including Nobel Laureate Professor Alan Heeger. The event, he stated, focuses on several avenues for the future of nanotechnology, but particularly its industrial and academic potential. 

A nanotechnology revolution, according to Koriat, would be more life-changing than the three last major technological revolutions - the automobile revolution, the microtechnology revolution, and the optics revolution - combined. "Nano-technology has the potential to be integrated into every field," Koriat stated. 

Why is that? Koriat explained that nanotechnology works on the atomic level - and can build new materials "from the ground up" in a different way. As such, the technology has the capability to form essentially different materials - elements whose atoms are six to ten times stronger than the typical elements known today. The new elements, according to Koriat, could be stronger, lighter - and emit energy more efficiently.  

Nanotechnology's most practical use could be in medicine, according to Koriat. Very soon, he said, a pill could be introduced which would use nanites to find and eliminate cancer cells from within the body - without harming the body's own cells, as in chemotherapy. Another idea is to grow plants spliced with genes from a host person, he said, which would provide a "stem cell bank" for organs as well as serve other regenerative purposes. 

Defense could also use a technology boost, Koriat noted. A vest is currently in development that has the same strength and bulletproof properties as Kevlar, but is several times lighter. The vest would allow soldiers and security officials to move much more freely during anti-terrorism operations. 

Israel is at the forefront of the nanotechnology field, he stated, and is the top researcher of nanotechnology in academia. Over 650 faculty members are engaged in the field, as well as 1,200 graduate students. Two hundred companies work with nanotechnology, 800 patents have been filed, and more than 700 articles have been published on the subject - all despite Israel's small size.

"The world is jealous of us," Koriat stated. He is convinced the current conference in Tel Aviv will springboard for numerous inventions seeking investors and industrial enterprises that are looking for Israeli innovation.