Newsletter : 5fax0103.txt
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Israeli Troops Begin Incursion into Northern Gaza
By VOA News
Israeli troops and tanks entered the northern Gaza Strip Sunday; hours after Israel
ended an operation against Palestinian terrorists in southern Gaza. The Beit Hanoun
operation began soon after IDF forces withdrew from Khan Younis after a three-day assault.
Israel says both raids were aimed at stopping the terrorists from firing rockets and
mortar shells at Israeli settlements and towns. The Israeli military actions come one week
before Palestinian elections to replace the late Yasir Arafat.
Guard Killed In Wave of Terror Near Be'er Sheva
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade terrorists claimed Sunday afternoon they murdered a security
guard at a Jewish National Fund park north of Be'er Sheva, the third murder in the area in
The body of the victim, Vladmir Rubin, 66, of Kiryat Gat, was discovered Sunday morning
at the Beit Guvrin National Park where he worked as a security guard. An official of the
company which employed Rubin said, "We estimate that it is most probable that a gang with
(Arab) nationalist motives" is responsible.
Police said he was shot in the head, and his pistol and several bullet shells were
found nearby, but police added that motives for the killing still are unclear despite the
announcement by Al-Aqsa terrorists. The terror gang, associated with the ruling
Palestinian Authority Fatah party, said the murder was vengeance for Israel's killing
terrorist leaders in Jenin, Shechem and Tulkarm. "The guard had an emergency alarm with
him and could have used it if (he knew) his life were in danger," added Yitzik Levy, a
director of the company. He added that Rubin knew his job well. Police noted the
well-liked guard was alone at the time.
The park is about five miles east of Kiryat Gat, a city north of Be'er Sheva. Police
did not rule out a connection between Rubin's murder and the recent murder of two other
Israelis in the area but so far "have not found a direct link between the three killings,"
according to Lachish District police official Effie Moore. Two weeks ago terrorists
stabbed to death a mother of four children at the entrance of her home in a nearby moshav.
The following day, another victim, also a guard was gunned down near Moshav Shekef, which
overlooks the Beit Guvrin Park.
Terrorists Fire Rocket Near Power Plant
Arab terrorists Saturday continued to bombard Israel with mortar shelling and rockets,
one of which exploded near a major power facility. A Kassam rocket fell Friday south of
the Ashkelon power plant, just north of Gaza and within Israel's pre-1967 borders.
Critics of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan have pointed out that an
Israeli withdrawal from Gaza would bring the power plant within striking range of Kassam
rockets. The Ashkelon facility is Israel's major source of electricity besides the
facility near Hadera, north of Tel Aviv.
Israeli Researchers Develop Vaccine That Enables Recovery of AIDS Patients' Immune
A Hadassah University Medical Center research team has developed a vaccine that
significantly strengthens the body's immune system against the autoimmune aftereffects of
HIV infection, a breakthrough that could dramatically make an impact in the treatment of
Close to a million cases of AIDS have been diagnosed in the U.S. since the beginning of
the epidemic, with the HIV/AIDS virus claiming over 20 million lives. Another 39 million
people are currently estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.
The researchers found that although treatment with the widespread AIDS cocktail of
medications kills the virus, the immune system continues to kill healthy cells; this
research focuses on developing a vaccine that would arrest this autoimmune destructive
process. The results of this study were published in the latest issue of the prestigious
Journal of Clinical Virology.
"The HIV virus starts killing white blood cells in the body," lead researcher Dr. Rivka
Abulafia-Lapid told ISRAEL21c. "The AIDS cocktail has been proven to be effective at
fighting and treating the virus, but we realized three or four years after patients
received the cocktail that their immune system does not always recover. We investigated
what was behind this, and found that there's an autoimmune process that continues unabated
despite the fact that the patient is taking the cocktail."
New drugs called protease inhibitors, which first approved in 1995, revolutionized the
treatment of patients infected with the AIDS virus. These drugs usually are taken with two
other drugs called reverse transcriptase inhibitors. The combined drug "cocktail" - also
known as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)- has helped change AIDS in the last
few years from being an automatic death sentence to what is now often a chronic, but
manageable, disease. However, while the virus disappears in many patients, their immune
system remains dangerously ineffective against foreign elements, and many of the patients
end up dying due to related complications.
"In about 50% of the cases, despite the disappearance of the virus, or at least the
virus being below detection level, the immune system does not bounce back," said
HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, infects a type of white blood cell called CD4,
an integral component in the body's immune system. As HIV attacks and destroys CD4 cells,
the weakened immune system becomes less able to fight infection and disease. HIV can also
cause AIDS, the last and most severe stage of HIV infection.
The Hadassah study was conducted between 1998 and 2002 with an additional two-year
monitoring period. Seven patients participated in the study; five of the seven patients
responded positively to the vaccine developed by the research team. For most AIDS
patients, the central immune system does not recover even if the HIV virus is almost
eliminated through treatment with the cocktail of medications. The Hadassah vaccine was
designed to stop the continuation of the autoimmune process.
Initially, the researchers identified CD8 cells, which are involved in the autoimmune
process and are supposedly responsible for destroying CD4 cells in the immune system. In
the laboratory, the scientists isolated the CD8 cells from a sample of the patient's white
blood cells and mixed them with CD4 cells, and showed that these CD8 cells were involved
in the killing process. At this stage, preparation of the vaccine involved neutralization
of these CD8 cells and preparation of portions of 10 million cells each to be used by
injection under the skin in order to trigger a vaccination against these harmful cells.
"We were able to locate the white blood cells responsible - which were programmed to
kill the good cells in the body and we were able to isolate them in clinical trials," said
Abulafia-Lapid. "We cultured them in a lab setting, and saw that they only grew
destructive cells. We killed them, injected the dead destructive cells within the form of
a vaccine. This teaches the body to see these cells as foreign and they start fighting
them and destroying them.
"Our aim was not to prevent infection by the virus but to strengthen the immune system
and use our vaccination treatment as a complement to the antiviral medication (HAART).
Since the autoimmune process continues even after elimination of the virus, the vaccine
that we have developed is directed to stop this destructive process. In other words, our
vaccine complements the cocktail of medications, to stop the body from continuing to
"Now, we plan to conduct extended clinical trials. We've shown that the vaccine is
non-toxic and safe. It's not an easy treatment but we've shown that patients benefit from
it," said Abulafia-Lapid. "What I envision is making the disease like a chronic infection
- the cocktail treats the virus and we help the immune system to recover and allow the
patient to continue his life and have his immune system fight any new invaders."
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