July 2020
Please join us on August 5 at 8:00 pm EDT as Jason Alexander hosts ICRF's first online gala! Special guests include legendary broadcaster-journalist Tom Brokaw, who will introduce ICRF-funded Nobel Laureate, scientist Aaron Ciechanover. Also featured are Academy Award winner Benj Pasek and the creative team of Saturday Night Seder, Eugene Levy from Schitt's Creek, Bonnie Hunt and others.

The evening will combine comedy and song, as well as special presentations by cancer survivors and Israeli cancer scientists. Throughout the 50-minute celebration, viewers will be able to make online donations and place bids on an online auction.

The program will conclude with the presentation of the Israel Cancer Research Fund’s Tower of Hope Humanitarian Award to Jason Alexander, in recognition of his generous support of cancer research in Israel. It will be presented by actor Steven Weber and will include tributes from Bryan Cranston and Chita Rivera.

Please register for this complimentary event at our gala website .
Dr. Mark Israel, Dr. Samuel Waxman, and Dr. Ariella Riva Ritvo-Slifka at the 2019 ICRF Gala in New York.
The Israel Cancer Research Fund, the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF), and the Alan B. Slifka Foundation (ABSF) have joined together to establish an innovative cancer research program that pairs scientists in the United States with scientists in Israel.

The program is funding two collaborating groups of cancer investigators, who will each receive $250,000 over two years. One group will study fusion proteins
that cause pediatric cancer such as Ewing sarcoma. The second group will study the role of epigenetics, or the process by which genes get turned on and off, causing cancer to spread from its original tumor site, a process known as metastasis.
The request for proposals was issued in February and the research collaborating teams were announced this month. July is Sarcoma and Bone Cancer Awareness month.
Ariella Riva Ritvo-Slifka, President and Chairwoman of the Alan B. Slifka Foundation and a 2019 Tower of Hope Gala honoree, said: “The only way to beat this beast and cure cancer is through a collaboration of scientists and institutions. Scientists must share data and work together if we are to gain a better understanding of cancer.”

Read more about this collaboration here.

Linnea Olson
Dr. Ravid Straussman
The third webinar in our Brilliant Minds series introduced Linnea Olson, patient advocate extraordinaire and new ICRF board member, as she shared her journey of living with lung cancer for over 14 years.  Dr. Ravid Straussman of the Weizmann Institute, whose most recent research was featured on the latest cover of Science, presented his research on the effects of bacteria in different tumor tissue and how this can lead to more targeted therapies for lung and other cancers. If you missed the webinar, please watch it here.

Our next webinar on August 19 will feature Professor Yossi Shiloh from Tel Aviv University whose area of research is the response of our cells to damage inflicted on the DNA by radiation and certain chemicals. Registration will be available soon!
Dr. Straussman was featured this week in an exclusive article through a partnership by ICRF and JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency). Click here to read the article.

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. Listed below are a few examples:

  • ICRF Project Grant awardee, Ronen Alon, PhD, of the Weizmann Institute of Science, is studying metastasis, or how tumor cells spread to distant organs within the body.  In response to the pandemic, his lab is now also working to develop a mouse model of influenza with similar complications to those of COVID-19, and will use this model to test ways to block specific types of immune cells from excessively infiltrating the lungs and causing severe breathing problems.

  • ICRF Research Professorship grantee, Michal Baniyash, PhD, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is exploring the relationship between inflammation, cancer, and immune suppression.  In response to the pandemic, her lab is trying to develop human monoclonal antibodies (antibodies that are made by identical immune cells that are all clones of a unique parent cell) to treat patients to lessen the severity of the COVID-19 virus until a durable vaccine has been found.

  • ICRF Barron Scholar, Ariel Munitz, PhD, of Tel Aviv University, and his collaborator at City of Hope, are studying how a particular type of white blood cell plays a role in breast cancer metastasis to the lungs.  In response to the pandemic, he spearheaded the establishment of an emergency COVID-19 testing lab on the University campus that was built in three days.  The Munitz lab has also developed a new COVID-19 antibody test that produces results in one hour and is currently being used by the IDF’s Medical Corps.  (For more information, click here.)

Professor Shai Izraeli, Director of the Department of Hematology-Oncology at Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, a recipient of several ICRF Project grants and currently a Jacki and Bruce Barron Cancer Research Scholars' Program ( a partnership between ICRF and the City of Hope) grantee for collaborative research in pediatric leukemia, spoke about the prognosis for childhood cancers in a recent article in The Jerusalem Post.

According to Professor Izraeli, by 2040, all children who are diagnosed with cancer will survive. When he was growing up, he noted, most children diagnosed with cancer died. Today, overall, 83 percent of childhood cancer patients become long-term survivors.  “When you talk about specific cancers, like Hodgkin’s lymphoma and standard-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the rate of survival is more than 90 percent,” Professor Izraeli said.

Professor Izraeli attributes his optimism to improved genomics, which enables doctors to better understand the interactions between genes and the environment, and provide a more accurate diagnosis. In addition, better diagnostic tools allow doctors a better understanding of how patients are responding to treatments, enabling them to provide more personalized care. New drugs and drug combinations have also led to improved survival rates.
For the second consecutive year, ICRF has achieved the highest rating for reporting from the GuideStar Seals of Transparency . The platinum rating indicates that the organization’s commitment to transparency meets the highest possible level and subsequently is an excellent guide for potential donors.
Dr. Gary Grad
ICRF Chicago, Sharsharet, and Cancer Wellness Center hosted a virtual, interactive panel discussion last month on Cancer and Covid. Oncologist and ICRF board member Gary Grad highlighted the impact of COVID on Chicago's cancer patients and medical system. Social worker Rebecca Koren of Sharsharet addressed mindfulness and well-being during COVID while oncology dietitian Lori Bumbaco from Cancer Wellness Center focused on staples for nourishment and how to incorporate them into your diet. Click here to watch the webinar.
ICRF Montreal hosted its first virtual gala last month with award-winning concert pianist, entertainer and talk show host Gregory Charles captivating the audience who participated from the comfort of their homes. The evening included cameo appearances from a Montreal-based jazz-pop singer, a singer songwriter and hip-hop violinist. ICRF-Israel Chairman Tamir Gilat shared his personal cancer journey and attributed his survival to ongoing cancer research.

The evening raised more than $190,000; but, in a dramatic turn of events, it was announced that businessman and philanthropist Mike Flinker and his wife Dr. Marcia Gillman would donate $210,000 to fund an Israeli Fellow in colorectal cancer, bringing the total of funds raised to more than $410,000.

Click here to view the gala.
ICRF Toronto is gearing up for a full day of wellness on September 13 with yoga, pilates, spin and much more. Rewards for people who register early. Click here for all the details.
I CRF Connecticut presented the first Brilliant Minds webinar ( Cancer, Viruses and the Hope of Nanovaccines ) to Temple Beth El congregants last month, most of whom were 'first-timers' to ICRF. Chapter Chairman, Leslie Freedman, PhD introduced the evening and ICRF National Executive Director Mark Israel, MD offered his comments and led a Q&A following the presentation. The chapter is planning future local webinar engagements. 
  • Ultraviolet light can reduce Covid transmission indoors (Israel21c) - An international team of scientists is advocating the use of ultraviolet light indoors as an inexpensive and efficient way to inactivate the coronavirus.
  • Cancer treatments significantly affected by diet, researchers find (The Jerusalem Post) Changes in diet can increase the toxicity of a chemotherapeutic drug by up to 100-fold.
  • Colon Cancer Uses a Regenerative Playbook to Metastasize (The Scientist) ICRF-funded scientist Avri Ben-Zeev at the Weizmann Institute of Science has found similarities between cells that heal wounds and those that lead deadly cancerous invasions.
  • Thank you! ICRF recently received two very special donations. A couple in LA chose to donate their wedding gifts to ICRF. Both individuals had lost their former spouses to cancer and wished to remember their loved ones and to support cancer research in Israel as part of their celebration. Also, the 7th grade Bar/Bat Mitzvah class of Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City, CA, selected ICRF as their charity to receive a $350 check.
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 .