August 2020
The Israel Cancer Research Fund’s first-ever nationwide Ribbons of Hope virtual celebration held on August 5 was an unforgettable evening of comedy, song, hope and inspiration for cancer patients and their families worldwide.

The star-studded evening was emceed by beloved actor and comedian Jason Alexander, who was honored with the 2020 ICRF Tower of Hope Humanitarian Award and surprise unveiling of the new “Alexander Family Grant for Women’s Cancers.” 

Other noted guests of honor included longtime NBC broadcaster Tom Brokaw, Israeli Nobel Prize laureate Professor Aaron Ciechanover, songwriter Benj Pasek, with actors Bonnie Hunt and Eugene Levy, among others. 

“ICRF's Virtual Gala exceeded our expectations in so many different ways, the most important of which was the remarkable generosity of donors that has brought us significantly closer to supporting the very best cancer research being conducted by ICRF-funded scientists,” said ICRF National Executive Director Dr. Mark Israel.

Over 1,400 guests registered to join ICRF for this special virtual celebration. Guests also had the opportunity to launch their own “virtual tables” to fundraise in honor or in memory of a loved one as part of the gala as well as to bid on an exciting collection of silent auction items, including a Zoom chat donated by Jason Alexander, a mint condition Michael Jordan autographed Chicago Bulls jersey from the storied 1997-98 NBA season and an official Israeli Tokyo Olympic Baseball Team jersey donated by team’s manager, Eric Holtz.

The evening raised more than $1.3 million for groundbreaking cancer research in Israel – critical funds in this challenging time of uncertainty for ICRF.

This gala was a unique opportunity to tell the story of Israel’s truly world-class research to a national audience in an entertaining, informative and engaging fashion,” said ICRF President Rob Densen. “We hope to inspire hope for cancer patients and their families worldwide and, for the benefit of all humankind, generate critical dollars in support of Israel’s brilliant cancer research.’’

Thank you again to all Ribbons of Hope sponsors, donors and supporters (listed here).
If you missed out on this spectacular event, or would like to share the fun with your family and friends, the full recording is available below:
Albert Grinshpun, MD, MSc
Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center 
The Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of the Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has announced a collaboration with ICRF to grant a 2020 Career Development Award (CDA) to support high quality clinical oncology research by an early-career physician scientist in Israel. The CDA provides resources to clinical and translational investigators during their initial years of faculty appointment when funding is especially challenging.

Abert Grinshpun, MD, MSc, of Hadassah Medical Center, is the recipient of the 2020 joint award, which marks the first time Conquer Cancer has co-funded an award with ICRF. He will receive $200,000 over a period of three years. Dr. Grinshpun's project, Universal Detection of Breast Cancer, will focus on developing a minimally invasive alternative for standard breast biopsy.
“This grant will allow the Hadassah Breast Cancer research group and me to fulfill our ambitious goal to develop an early diagnosis blood test for the detection of early-stage blood cancer," said Dr. Grinspun.

ICRF looks to enhance its grants program through collaborations with like-minded organizations. “We look for organizations committed to collaborative funding, open minded about researchers at various  levels of career development , and enthusiastic about Israel’s performance in biomedical sciences,“ noted Dr. Mark Israel, ICRF National Executive Director. “These collaborations have resulted in great opportunities for us to expand our efforts in Israel and the breadth of experiences we can provide our investigators.”
The Brilliant Minds series returned in August with a look at "Treating Cancer with Radiation."

Andrea Greene, a long-time ICRF supporter and New York chapter board member, spoke about her experience undergoing treatment for breast cancer. ICRF-funded scientist Yossi Shiloh, PhD, spoke about his groundbreaking discovery of the ATM gene and subsequent work on the critical role this gene plays in regulating DNA damage response and repair, which have opened the door to the development of more efficacious and less toxic radiation therapies - a treatment that continues to be used in over 50 percent of cancers today.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020
12:00-12:45 PM ET | 11:00-11:45 AM CT
Please join us during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month for a very special webinar as Galit Kleiner, MD, shares her daughter's battle with a rare childhood cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. ICRF-funded researcher Professor Shai Izraeli will discuss the current childhood cancer research and how future treatments are likely to be for these patients. Moderated by Dr. David Malkin, Senior Staff Oncologist and Senior Scientist, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto and Chair, ICRF Scientific Review Panel ‘A’.

All webinars in the series are complimentary but registration is required to receive a Zoom access link.
Brilliant Minds Webinar - September 9, 2020
While ICRF-funded scientists are hard at work trying to solve the cancer problem, many of them are also helping to address the COVID-19 pandemic by repurposing strategies and technologies they have developed in their cancer work to expand their application. But, there is another side to the virus: the psychological effects caused by the pandemic – affecting not only the frontline workers, but also the general population. Several ICRF researchers are tackling this issue:
Yafit Gilboa, PhD and Mor Nahum, PhD
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Yafit Gilboa, PhD, and Mor Nahum, PhD, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, are ICRF grantees under The Brause Family Initiative for Quality of Life. Their work is aimed at developing and testing a treatment for cancer survivors experiencing cancer-related cognitive impairment that will be delivered remotely using online software. In response to the pandemic, their work now includes, screening for geriatric depression using a smart mobile app, and measuring the resilience of health professionals in the Israeli Defense Forces over time.
Asya Rolls, PhD, Technion Israel
 Asya Rolls, PhD, of the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, is an ICRF grantee under the Immunotherapy Promise, a funding partnership with the Cancer Research Institute. Using advanced neuroscience tools, her lab aims to dissect the effects of innervation -- the distribution of nerve fibers to an organ or body region -- on the tumor microenvironment in order to improve the efficacy of immunotherapy.  In response to the pandemic, her lab is also attempting to understand how our thoughts and expectations may impact the body’s ability to fight off COVID-19, with the goal of decreasing infection rates among exposed individuals.
A new study by Professor Ephrat Levy-Lahad, a former ICRF-funded scientist and Director of the Medical Genetics Institute at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, found that women who developed breast cancer, who knew they carried the breast cancer (BRCA) gene before diagnosis, were much more likely to survive the disease than those who discovered they were carriers after being diagnosed. The findings were published in JAMA Oncology.
Ephrat Levy-Lehad, MD
Shaare Zedek Medical Center
Specifically, 94 percent of women with breast cancer who were aware that they were carriers, were alive after five years, compared with 78 percent who found out after a diagnosis. In addition, the study identified major differences in morbidity. While 80 percent of women who learned that they carried a predisposition to breast cancer prior to diagnosis required chemotherapy, only 50 percent of women who knew of their predisposition before diagnosis required such treatment.

Professor Levy-Lahad is widely considered one of the foremost authorities on altered genes that enhance the incidence of breast cancer in Jewish women. In 2014, she published a study recommending that all women of Ashkenazi origin be screened at the age of 30 for two breast cancer predisposition genes.
September 13
Don't miss out! ICRF Toronto has already over 100 virtual participants for their full day of wellness on September 13 with yoga, Pilates, spin and much more. And, the goal of $100,000 has been surpassed! Rewards for people who register early. Click here for details.
ICRF 2018 Tower of Hope Honoree, Alan Alda, told The AARP Magazine, “One of the most basic things I've tried to do is give people a greater understanding of how science works — the importance of evidence, the importance of many trials, of rigorous studies, and the idea that we learn only a little bit at a time. No single study is the end-all answer for everything.  Making people aware of that process helps increase appreciation and respect for science, and that helps us make informed decisions for our families and ourselves.”

Click here for the full article.
Alan Alda

ICRF-funded scientist Professor Ben-Neriah, together with his team at the Hebrew University Lautenberg Center for Immunology and Cancer Research, conducted a study to understand why cancer in the small intestine is quite rare, while colorectal cancer, in a neighboring organ, is one of the leading causes of cancer death for men and women. Their breakthrough findings, which appeared in the journal, Nature, suggest that high levels of metabolites, found in certain bacteria and antioxidant-rich foods, such as black tea, chocolate and berries, provide an environment for colon cancer to grow.
Celebrate your birthday or honor a loved one by creating your own Facebook fundraiser for ICRF.
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to generate donations for ICRF
when you shop via Amazon Smile.
The Answer to Cancer is Research.

Israel Cancer Research Fund's mission is to support the best and brightest scientists conducting groundbreaking cancer research at all of the leading institutions in Israel. To date, ICRF has competitively-awarded over $72 million in funding for nearly 2,500 grants, making ICRF the largest nongovernmental funder of cancer research in Israel. Learn more at