January 2023
ICRF Releases 2022 Impact Statement
ICRF is pleased to present the 2022 Impact Statement highlighting ICRF's committment to funding the best and brightest scientists in Israel working tirelessly to find cures and treatments for cancer. Thanks to your ongoing support, together we are making great strides in the fight against cancer, which will undoubtedly enhance the lives of countless cancer patients and their loved ones.

The Mark Foundation, ICRF Partner on First Research Project
The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research and the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) have partnered on a new award, The ICRF–Mark Foundation for Cancer Research Project Grant, given to Ravid Straussman, MD, PhD, of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. The three-year joint award will support Dr. Straussman's research on the role of bacteria in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). GBM is the most common brain tumor, for which treatment options are very limited.
“The Mark Foundation is proud to expand our reach in supporting the most impactful cancer research worldwide,” said Ryan Schoenfeld, PhD, CEO of The Mark Foundation. “We’re pleased to collaborate with the ICRF to fund Dr. Straussman’s critical GBM research at the Weizmann Institute in Israel”.  
With his team, Dr. Straussman studies the tumor microenvironment and the tumor-associated microbiome, with a special focus on how the non-cancerous components of the tumor microenvironment affect the response of cancer cells to cytotoxic, targeted, and immune-mediated therapies.

Alan Herman Named ICRF National Director of Advancement
Alan Herman has been named National Director of Advancement of the Israel Cancer Research Fund. Prior to this appointment, Herman served as ICRF New York Executive Director since July 2021. In this new role, Herman will help set ICRF’s national strategies and guide its fundraising efforts, including strengthening existing partnerships and developing new collaborations, and expanding markets for the organization nationwide.

"Joining ICRF a year and a half ago has been a gift that words cannot describe,” said Herman. “As a cancer survivor, I am so humbled to be part of a mission and a team that is helping to bring about change so that one day cancer will not upend so many lives. With this enhanced challenge, I hope to increase awareness of ICRF’s mission and to raise significant funds to support Israel’s brilliant cancer researchers in their relentless work to find new treatments and cures for this devastating disease.”

RNA-Based Cancer Treatments Focus of Research Professorship Grant
Rotem Karni, PhD, of Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, spoke to ICRF about how his ICRF-Glazer Foundation Research Professorship Grant will enable him to explore several promising RNA-based technologies to target cancer cells.
As a Research Professorship grantee, can you describe your advances thus far in understanding the role of RNA processing in cancer?
In the past decade or so, my lab discovered the role of several proteins that process RNA to manufacture new proteins (called RNA splicing factors) in cancer development and progression. These discoveries helped us to better understand how cancer cells survive, proliferate and metastasize. The new findings also shed light on new targets for cancer therapy. Based on these discoveries, my lab developed novel RNA-based therapies that intervene in RNA processing within the cancer cells, inhibiting their growth, survival, and invasiveness. These technologies are being commercialized by the Hebrew University and were the basis for three biotech companies founded in the past two years to develop therapies for genetic diseases and cancer.

ICRF support over the years has helped me build my reputation
in cancer research.

Professor Rotem Karni
Newly Funded Scientists Tackle Basic Cancer Research
at Molecular Level
Virtually every drug, therapy, and diagnostic test that is used in the clinic today originated from basic, laboratory research. We cannot cure cancer, if we don’t understand what causes it. Although basic, fundamental research may not effect an immediate cure, expanding our knowledge of cancer’s underlying processes will eventually lead to that “eureka” moment. Below is information on the research work of three ICRF scientists in their first year of funding who are confronting the cancer problem at the molecular level. 
Yitzhak Reizel, PhD is the recipient of an ICRF Research Career Development Award (RCDA) at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. During the development of an organism, each organ or cell type undergoes a specific program that regulates the expression of genes required for the growth and maintenance of tissue. Pioneer factors are a group of proteins that trigger the programs for organ-specific development. The goal of Dr. Reizel’s research is to determine whether the principles underlying normal organ creation apply during initiation and progression of cancer, by focusing on the pioneer factor called FoxA1, which activates both normal development and tumor formation. His research should identify new principles that regulate gene expression in cancer cells and may lead to the development of methods for therapeutics and diagnosis.
Julia Shifman, PhD is the recipient of an ICRF Project Grant at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Mutations in the RAS protein are found in 30 percent of all human cancers, but despite its established role in cancer progression, efforts to design drugs that target this protein have been mostly unsuccessful. Very recently, however, a drug that targets one particular RAS mutation has been approved by the FDA. Dr. Shifman will search for new drugs that act against other RAS mutants, using protein engineering tools developed in her lab, to design proteins that bind to and inactivate only the unhealthy, mutated RAS, sparing the unmutated protein. These engineered proteins can become a starting point for drug development. Her ultimate goal is to develop novel drugs that are non-toxic and more powerful than existing therapies.
Yarden Opatowsky, PhD is an ICRF Project Grant recipient, at Bar-Ilan University. Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) is a side effect of many cancer treatments. Its symptoms include numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and feet, which can persist for years. Currently, there are no effective treatments. Dr. Opatowsky is studying the SARM1 protein as a potential target for CIPN treatment and has found that mice that do not produce SARM1 are resistant to CIPN, without showing any other apparent impediments. The Opatowsky lab will develop and test SARM1-inhibiting compounds with the ultimate goal of developing therapeutics that prevent CIPN. Not only will this potentially improve cancer patients' quality of life, but may also effectively enhance prognosis by enabling increased dosages of chemotherapy agents that may otherwise be limited due to side effects
Team ICRF Hits the Streets Running, Biking for Cancer Research
Following Team ICRF’s success in the 2022 TCS New York City Marathon, we are excited to share details of our first two 2023 Team ICRF events. Please consider joining Team ICRF this spring for our second year as an official charity partner of the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon on Sunday, March 19 or for our inaugural participation in the TD Five Boro Bike Tour on Sunday, May 7. 

Hit the streets of New York City and make a difference by running or riding with Team ICRF in support of innovative cancer research. Your fundraising will help the Israel Cancer Research Fund invest in the most promising research in Israel, bringing us closer to our goal of ending the suffering caused by cancer. There is a $1,800 fundraising minimum to receive guaranteed entry for either event. Applications for guaranteed entry in each event are now open, but space is limited! To apply, please email alan.herman@icrfonline.org.
Chapter Highlights
Montreal Raises More Than CAN$285K at Women of Action Event
The annual Montreal Women of Action luncheon recognizes outstanding women who have made a difference through their achievements, leadership and dedication in the business, scientific and philanthropic communities.  

Honorees recognized this year were: Anzie Stein, founder and owner of Anzie Stein Jewelry, Catherine Melling Turner, community leader, volunteer and philanthropist and Dr. Sara Soldera, Assistant Director of Clinical Research at Charles-Le Moyne Research Center. Hayley Arceneaux, a pediatric bone cancer survivor who has dedicated her life to cancer research, delivered the keynote address. Currently a St. Jude Children's Research Hospital physician assistant, Arceneaux was also a member of SpaceX's first private spaceflight in September 2021. This flight made her the youngest American to orbit the earth, the first pediatric cancer survivor in space, and the first astronaut with a prosthesis. She is also a newly published author, having released her memoir last month. The event raised more than CAN$285,000. 

Support for Cancer Research Surpasses CAN$655K at Halftime Show Musical Performance in Toronto
ICRF Toronto hosted its most successful in-person ICRF Presents in November, featuring epic songs from past halftime show performances. More than CAN$655,000 was raised to support cancer research in Israel, a record for the tenth annual family event. The 2022 Alisa Lyons Award of Valour was presented to Bryna Goldberg, Chair of ICRF International. The Solomons family introduced the Hayden Solomons Award of Distinction. The first recipient of this award was the Solomons family in memory of Hayden z”l.

News Roundup
Double the Impact of Your Tax-Deductible Gift
Did you know that you can double the impact of your tax-deductible gift to ICRF by taking a few seconds to check if your employer will match your gift?

This means that your gift + your employer's match can = 2x the impact on groundbreaking cancer research.

Simply visit icrfonline.org/doublethedonation to find out if yours is one of the many employers that participate in these programs.