TEL AVIV (Dec. 3)
The abandoned Lavi fighter plane project is helping an Israeli company produce a new device for the early detection of cancer.
The machine, called the cytoscan, was developed at a cost of $9 million by the Tamam Precision Instruments company, a subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industries’ electronics division.
It expects to sell about 20 worldwide in the coming year. The device is expected to sell for $175,000.
IAI sources said the manufacturing principles, employing lasers, are a spinoff from the Lavi, Israel’s second-generation jet fighter-bomber, which reached the prototype stage before it was canceled in 1987 because of excessive costs.
The cytoscan was developed by Israeli scientists on the basis of principles devised by a British-born husband-and-wife medical team.
The couple, who now live in the United States, had difficulty raising money to advance their ideas and turned to Israel for capital and manufacturing know-how.
The cytoscan can diagnose a cancerous growth within 60 minutes, using a blood sample, and can also determine the kind of cancer and its location in the body, according to a report in Ma’ariv on Friday.
It can detect and locate lung, breast and skin cancer and cancer of the large intestines. It cannot spot cancers where there is no solid tumor, such as blood cancer.
Experts say the equipment will be used initially in follow-up tests on women who have had surgery for breast cancer. But it will be some time before it is used in pre-cancer detection in presumably healthy persons.
The Israeli scientists credited with developing the cytoscan are Mordechai Deutsch and his instructor at Bar-Ilan University’s physics department, Professor Aryeh Weinreb, and Dr. Reuven Tirosh.