ICRF Funds Additional Grants, Bringing Total to 78 for 2021-22
As of 2021, ICRF began committing funds on a "rolling award" basis. An initial round of commitments was made to applications with the very top scores, and additional funding commitments were announced individually, as funds became available. This new approach enabled ICRF to fund a higher proportion of excellent applications than in the past, bringing the total number of grants for 2021-22 to 78. Below are details on the four additional new grants now being funded:
Erez Levanon, PhD of Bar-Ilan University, received an ICRF Acceleration Grant for his project entitled, “Inducing Neoantigens for Immunotherapy Through Splicing Modulation.” Acceleration Grants are intended to speed up our understanding of the biology underlying cancer and to provide new knowledge that will rapidly enhance the development of innovative therapeutics. This project involves improving responses to cancer immunotherapy, since not all patients exhibit a strong response. The research team will design molecules, predicted by computational analysis, that will force creation of new proteins within the tumor cells. These new proteins are predicted to help invoke a robust, anti-tumor, immune response.
Eran Meshorer, PhD of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, received an ICRF Project Grant for his project entitled, “Histone Turnover in Glioblastoma.” Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor, and it is challenging to treat. A single mutation occurs frequently in a type of GBM that occurs only in pediatric patients. These experiments should identify specific mechanisms by which this mutation may drive malignancy, and potentially identify pathways for therapeutic intervention.
Reuven Wiener, PhD of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, received an ICRF Project Grant for his project entitled, “Mechanistic Understanding of Ufmylation for Anti-Cancer Drug Development.” Proteins are the workhorses of the cell and are responsible for almost all cellular processes. One protein that has been closely linked to cancer is UFM1. Improper regulation of protein modification by UFM1 (ufmylation) has been linked to several types of cancers, including breast, ovarian, and gastric cancers. The Wiener lab uses advanced methods for analysis of protein structure and activity in order to uncover the mechanisms by which UFM1 is attached to its target proteins, with the goal of making this pathway the target for novel anti-cancer drugs.
Assaf Zinger, PhD of Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, received an ICRF Research Career Development Award (RCDA) for his project entitled, “Modulating Triple Negative Breast Cancer Microenvironment Using Biomimetic Nanoparticles.” The Zinger lab develops nanoparticles to mimic the natural ways in which white blood cells target cancer and inflammation. Tumor-associated macrophages are cells that infiltrate the cancer microenvironment and promote tumor development. Greater infiltration directly correlates with poor patient prognosis. Using a mouse model for triple negative breast cancer, they plan to develop and test new biomimetic nanotechnology that will interfere with macrophages and help to inhibit tumor development.
ICRF Grant Explores Cannabinoids' Antitumoral Effects

Professor David Meiri, a new ICRF Project Grant recipient, talks about his research on a distinct combination of cannabinoids, which are able to induce cell death in leukemia cells.
As a new ICRF grantee, can you briefly describe your research relating to the cannabis plant and its effects on tumors?
Recently, the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids and the unique active compounds of the cannabis plant, have become relevant in cancer research. Cannabis is currently being used by cancer patients, primarily in palliative care, but recent pre-clinical and clinical data suggest that the right plant components can actually exert antitumoral effects.
As cannabinoids have also been shown to play key roles in modulation of the immune system, we tested the effect of cannabis in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). We found a specific cannabis extract that selectively induces apoptosis (cell death) in T-ALL cells that have a mutation in the signaling receptor Notch1. In humans, more than 50 percent of T-ALL cases display Notch1 autoactivation, making this signaling pathway a strong candidate for new therapeutics. 

Obesity and Breast Cancer Focus of New ICRF Project Grant

Obese women have a higher risk of developing breast tumors that are resistant to therapies, and once diagnosed, cancer is more likely to recur and is associated with higher death rates. Professor Michael Elkin, an earlier recipient of an ICRF Research Career Development Award, has received a Project Grant to explore aspects of obesity-associated breast cancer progression.
Your research on the progression of cancer in overweight women was recently published in the prestigious Cancer Research journal. Can you describe your recent significant breakthrough?
Our research identified heparanase enzyme as a mechanistic determinant of the link between obesity and hormone responsive breast cancer. (However, it is important to note that the association between obesity and the increased risk of hormone responsive breast carcinoma in post-menopausal women has been demonstrated in earlier studies.)

This enzyme plays a central role in cancer progression. We found that heparanase is overexpressed in clinical and experimental obesity-associated breast tumors. Moreover, deficiency of the enzyme abolished the tumor-promoting action of obesity in mouse models; in mice lacking the enzyme heparanase, obesity had no effect at all on tumor development.

Given ongoing development of heparanase inhibiting compounds, our current study may offer a mechanistically informed approach to uncouple obesity and breast cancer in a rapidly growing population of obese patients, and to suppress the breast cancer-promoting consequences of excess adiposity (the condition of having too much fatty tissue in the body). This has the potential of offering clinical benefit for breast cancer patients with elevated body weight.

ICRF support has had a major impact on my work. Today, almost ten years later,
our current grant has enabled our team to enter a new and exciting area of research.

Professor Michael Elkin
Tips to Help Prevent Cancer

With February being National Cancer Prevention Month, including World Cancer Day on February 4, the focus shifts to steps to prevent cancer. An estimated 42 percent of cancer cases are attributed to potentially modifiable risk factors. Cancer prevention and early detection through screening can reduce the cancer burden. Some tips to include in your daily routine:
Cancer Research Offers Life
to Multiple Myeloma Patient
“My father’s face seemed to sag. He was healthy, a young 62. He hardly expected to hear the word, cancer. And I, a physician, never expected to be the one saying it,” Dr. Justin Kriezelman told ICRF in a recent interview. “As a doctor I’ve diagnosed thousands of patients. But when the patient is your father, your defenses crumble. I wanted my father to be healthy, I wanted the best care. The best modern treatments.”
More than a decade later, Jeff Kreizelman’s multiple myeloma is in remission. Thanks to chemotherapy, stem cell procedures and Velcade® a drug developed based on the research of ICRF Professorship grant recipients and Nobel Laureates Professors Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover Jeff is back practicing law, his life’s passion and, most importantly, living life to the fullest. In his son’s words: “It’s hard to tell the difference between the giving, energetic person he was before cancer and the giving energetic person he is now.
Today, the odds of surviving multiple myeloma," said Justin, are better than ever before. It used to be a death sentence. Cancer research saved my father’s life.”
ICRF International Board Names Four New Members

ICRF is proud to welcome four new members to the International Board of Trustees. They are Jordanna Feifer from Quebec, Leslie Freedman and Len Mark from Connecticut, and Gerald Soff, MD, from Florida.

ICRF Montreal Appoints Stu Guttman to CEO Post
Montreal’s ICRF chapter has announced the appointment of Stu Guttman to CEO. In his new role, Guttman will be charged with business development with a primary focus on fundraising and building relationships with donors.

“The board is very excited to welcome Stu to our organization,” said Jeffrey Bernstein, Co-President of Montreal ICRF. “Stu brings a wealth of experience from the organizations he has previously worked with that will certainly benefit ICRF. He is highly respected in his field and we look forward to working with him.”
Guttman holds a MBA from the John Molson School of Business Executive Program and a Master’s degree in Non-Profit Management and Jewish Studies from Spertus College in Chicago. He has raised more than $50 million for several nonprofits throughout his career,
having served as the Director of Development for Summit School, Montreal Director
of Chai Lifeline Canada, and the Director of Camp Massad, among other community organizations.  
Jacki and Bruce Barron Cancer Research Scholars' Program Symposium

The fifth annual symposium, a collaboration between ICRF and City of Hope, will take place on February 24 from 1:00-3:00 pm EST. The symposium brings together Israeli and American scientists who will share the latest developments in their joint research partnerships.
This virtual event, "New Targets and Therapies in Cancer," is open to the public and has been made possible through the generous support of The Harvey L. Miller Family Foundation, Jacki and Bruce Barron, and The Norman and Sadie Lee Foundation. If you would like to attend, register today.
Chapter Events
Team ICRF in the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon

ICRF has been selected to be an official Charity Partner of the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon on March 20, 2022.

Team ICRF is fortunate to have ten runners, all with incredible reasons why running for ICRF and raising money for cancer research is so important to them. Our Team Goal is to raise $36,000.

Please visit: icrfonline.org/nychalfmarathon2022 to learn more about Team ICRF and how you can help support the runners.
ICRF has applied to become a Charity Partner for the November NYC Marathon as well as several other events. More details will be shared as they become available. Please contact New York Executive Director Alan Herman at alan.herman@icrfonline.org for more information.
Save the Date -Inaugural ICRF Tri-State Golf Outing

Join Team ICRF on the green for the Inaugural Tri-State Golf Outing on June 28 at GlenArbor Country Club in Bedford Hills, New York. For more information, please contact Alan Herman, ICRF New York Executive Director, alan.herman@icrfonline.org or David Kweskin, ICRF Connecticut Director, david.kweskin@icrf.online.org.  
Support Station
Double the impact of your donation with a matching gift from your employer. Many companies match employee donations to ICRF check if your company is one of them by visiting doublethedonation.com/icrf. 
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