ICRF Newsletter
January 2021 View as Webpage
David Abramson
David  Abramson, a resident of Chicago, has been named President of Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), succeeding Rob Densen who held this position for two successive two-year terms.

Active in the Israel Cancer Research Fund for more than a decade, Abramson served as Chair of ICRF Chicago for the past seven years. According to Abramson, the pivotal moment for him came when he and his wife traveled to Israel on an ICRF mission in 2015. “The scientists were constantly thanking us for supporting their work. I thought that we should be thanking them for working in careers that have helped find new and more effective treatments for cancer. When I returned home I felt more motivated than ever to help them succeed. The simplest way to do that is to raise the much-needed funds for them to continue their life-saving research."
Abramson is Chairman of Rapid Displays, a leading marketing and point-of-purchase display firm. He previously served as CEO of the company for two decades before it was acquired in 2019 by Gemspring Capital. In the early 2000s, he was the Chairman of Point of Purchase International, a global non-profit organization, representing 1,800 member companies. He holds an MBA from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Business and a BBA from the University of Michigan.
With the retirement of Dr. Mark Israel as National Executive Director after three years at the helm, Beryl Chernov will be joining ICRF from the Park Avenue Synagogue, the largest Conservative synagogue in New York City, where he served as Executive Director for 19 years. Overseeing an annual budget of $19 million, he was responsible for development, as well as membership cultivation, technology, and operations. Prior to his tenure at Park Avenue Synagogue, Chernov was Executive Director of North Shore Synagogue and Director of the Weinberger Jewish Family Center. Earlier in his career, he played leadership roles in youth programming in the Jewish community.

His volunteer affiliations, both past and present, include board positions with Hebrew Public Charter Schools, Ramah Nyack, Goucher College, Metropolitan Association of Synagogue Executives
and North American Association of Synagogue Executives.
Beryl Chernov
Upon accepting the position, Chernov noted: "I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this important and successful mission-driven organization. I cannot think of a more noble cause than working to advance ICRF’s vital efforts to fund world-class cancer research in Israel.’’
Here are some relevant statistics from the American Cancer Society and the Israel Cancer Association.

  • The American Cancer Society estimates 14,480 cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in 2021. About 4,290 women will reportedly die from the disease this year.
  • Cervical cancer is most frequently diagnosed in women between 35 and 44. About 20 percent of cervical cancers are diagnosed in women over 60.
  • Cervical cancer was one of the most common causes of cancer deaths for American women. Mortality rates dropped significantly with the wide use of the Pap test. This procedure can detect changes in the cervix before cancer develops and can also find cervical cancer early, when it is small and easier to cure. In addition, the HPV (human papillomavirus) test has been approved as another screening test, since most cervical cancers are caused by HPV. This test is often done at the same time as a Pap test. The introduction of the HPV vaccine Gardasil in 2006 has rendered the vast majority of cervical cancers preventable.
  • Cervical cancer often presents a special challenge because symptoms are not always apparent, especially in the earliest stages. For this reason, it is imperative to begin regular cervical cancer screening at age 21, according to a report from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
  • Cervical cancer ranks as the 14th most frequent cancer among women in Israel and the fourth most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44. This relatively low rate is due in large part to early and regular testing. Professor Lital Keinan- Boker, Director of the Israel Center for Disease Control, reports: “Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women in the world, after breast, colorectal cancer and lung cancer, with over half a million new cases worldwide each year. In Israel, cervical cancer is not very prevalent, and the incidence of new cases is among the lowest in the Western world. Israel is ranked 33 out of 36 countries in descending order of incidence rates and 19 out of 36 countries, in descending order, in mortality rates."

The Women's Advisory Council (WAC) of the Israel Cancer Research Fund hosted an informative and engaging event with three renowned women experts in the field of personal finance.

Jean Chatzky, CEO of Hermoney.com , NBC Today Financial editor and New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author, posed a series of questions from “HerMoney happy hour cards“ to finance moguls Donna Nadler, Senior Partner, Capital Management Group, and Lee Miller, New York Regional Director, Glenmede.

The women addressed issues of how to check in on your financial health as well as choosing a path to financial wellbeing in the future. Attendees also interacted with the experts, voicing their own personal concerns and challenges about their financial goals. Copies of Chatzky's book, Women With Money, were raffled to attendees at the end of the evening.
The "ICRF Presents: Brilliant Minds" webinar series returned during Cervical Cancer Awareness Month with a look at cancer, viruses and vaccines, featuring ICRF grantee Dr. Uri Ben-David and ICRF National Executive Director Emeritus, Dr. Mark Israel, in conversation with moderators Dr. Nancy Maizels and Sue King.

Cervical cancer is among the approximately 20 percent of all human cancers linked to viruses; and in the case of cervical cancer, nearly all cases are caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a very common infection also associated with head and neck and other cancers (see stats above).
And, what about the remaining 80 percent of cancers not caused by viral infection?
Dr. Ben-David, a new faculty member in Tel Aviv University's Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry and recipient of an ICRF Gesher Award, spoke about a recent breakthrough from his lab that offers real hope for near-term advances in treating these tumors.

Dr. Ben-David's research focuses on a fundamental, yet understudied trait of cancer called aneuploidy – the presence of an abnormal number of chromosomes in cancer cells – and the potential of using this trait to selectively target cancer cells and eliminate tumors. Though a characteristic of most solid tumors, including cervical cancer, there are currently no therapeutics that target this hallmark of cancer. His lab is developing novel strategies to “crack the code” of this phenomenon and, by doing so, aspires to make aneuploidy a therapeutic target for precision cancer medicine. His latest research is due to be published in Nature.
Wednesday, February, 10, 2021
4:00 pm EST / 3:00 pm CT

Please register now to join us next month for a conversation on pregnancy and cancer featuring ICRF-funded researcher, Professor Irit Ben-Aharon, Director of the Oncology Division at Rambam Health Care Campus, the largest cancer center in northern Israel.

Professor Ben-Aharon is studying how chemotherapy damages blood vessels, which can lead to vascular disease and fertility problems in the future. Her current ICRF-funded research focuses on the role of vascular toxicity in the setting of chemotherapy during pregnancy and its impact on the placenta and fetus.

The oncologist is hopeful her work will be of special benefit to younger cancer survivors. “As the incidence of cancer in younger individuals is increasing, survivors with very long life expectancy are emerging as a group with significant challenges related to treatment,” she said.

Additional details and speakers will be announced shortly on our website.
To learn about webinar and series sponsorship opportunities, please contact caitlin.shmidheiser@icrfonline.org.
Despite enormous challenges last year, ICRF succeeded in funding a near record level of new grants for 2020-2021. The organization showed a resilience and innovative energy synonymous with that displayed by ICRF-funded scientists, and emerged with renewed vigor and determination.

To reflect the momentum, ICRF is proud to release its 2020 Impact Statement.
The fourth annual symposium, a collaboration between City of Hope and Israel Cancer Research Fund, will take place on February 16 from 9:00-11:00 am PST. The symposium brings together Israeli and American scientists who will share the latest developments in their collaborative research partnerships.

This virtual event, open to the public, has been made possible through the generous support of the Harvey L. Miller Family Foundation and the Norman and Sadie Lee Foundation.

For more information, contact ICRF at info@icrfonline.org.
With a planned gift to the Israel Cancer Research Fund, you can leave a philanthropic legacy that will help those touched by cancer – now and for years to come. Whether you would like to put your donation to work today or in the future, there are a variety of opportunities for making a legacy commitment to ICRF. Please visit our website to learn how you can create a lasting impact on the future of cancer research. If you have already named ICRF in your estate plan, please let us know so that we can recognize and personally thank you for your generosity and commitment. (This bequest intent form is available so that you may inform us of your legacy plans; this document is non-binding and revocable at any time.)
The latest article published this month through the partnership of ICRF and JTA highlights the innovative methods ICRF-funded scientists are employing to battle pancreatic cancer. Journalist Larry Luxner visited labs and spoke to scientists to hear about developments to combat this deadly disease. Read the article.
In commemoration of World Cancer Day on
February 4, ICRF Toronto will present "Unplugged,” an interactive virtual concert with Mike DelGuidice, who will be performing live requested songs from his studio in New York city. 

DelGuidice is an American musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter, best known as rhythm guitarist and vocalist of Billy Joel’s band, and as the lead vocalist and pianist for the band, Big Shot. The event begins at 7:00 pm EST and will be hosted by Jamie Gutfreund, with performances by Justin Guarini, Tony Vincent and Pia ToscanoRegistration is free. 
Join Dr. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, ICRF Research Professor and Head of the Cancer Research and Nanomedicine Laboratory at Tel Aviv University on February 11 at 12:30 pm EST as she talks about her research in nanotechnology and its implications for cancer treatment, and preventing COVID infection.

This event is co-hosted by Temple Beth Sholom of Cherry Hill, New Jersey and ICRF. For more information contact Kenneth.gabel@icrfny.org.
The Connecticut chapter is hosting a pre-Purim Magical Hour, "Make Cancer an Illusion," on February 21 at
4:15 pm EST with renowned illusionist Tom Pesce. With over 20 years of experience, Pesce regularly performs for some of the most prestigious resorts, theaters, and Fortune 500 companies. Click here to register.

Connecticut is also, together with local synagogues, co-sponsoring a series of the most popular “ICRF Presents: Brilliant Minds” webinars, including live and pre-recorded segments.

Earlier this month, ICRF held a presentation with Congregation Agudath Sholom, Stamford: “Mind-Body Connection: How the Brain Affects Cancer Immunity,” featuring Professor Asya Rolls, PhD of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and breast cancer survivor Jo-Jo Harris. Moderators: Nancy Maizels, PhD and David Hakimian, MD.

On February 8, 7:00 pm EST, ICRF Connecticut will host, with Temple Sholom, Greenwich: “Listen to Your Gut: Cancer, Immunity and Gut Health,” featuring Professor Naama Geva-Zatorsky Technion–Israel Institute of Technology. Moderators: Nancy Maizels, PhD and Jason K. Sicklick, MD. Registration is now open. Click here.
Celebrate your birthday or honor a loved one by creating your own Facebook fundraiser for ICRF.

Use the new Amazon Smile App
(for both iOS and android)
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 www.icrfonline.org.