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February 2024



Alan Herman Named Executive Director of ICRF

The International Board of Trustees of the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) is pleased to announce that Alan Herman has been named Executive Director. Herman joined ICRF as New York Executive Director in July 2021 and was promoted to National Director of Advancement in December 2022.

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ICRF in the News

Israeli scientists find way to elicit strong immune response against cancer

Dr. Rony Dahan, an ICRF Project Grant recipient, and his team have recently published a study that showed a significant reduction in the growth rate of skin and lung cancers with a novel approach to cancer treatment via immunotherapy that they have developed. 

Read the article


Scientist Spotlights

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Yaara Oren, PhD

Tel Aviv University

The Barbara and Fred Kort Foundation Research Career Development Award

Despite a favorable initial response to therapy, 30% of cancer patients will experience relapse and die within five years of diagnosis. It is not clear why some cancer cells that initially respond to treatment can ultimately dodge it and refuel tumor growth. Dr. Oren’s team is developing a new tool to track and study cells that escape post-treatment senescence, in which cells stop dividing and proliferating, thus preventing tumor growth. The study should help spur the development of new therapies that delay or even prevent recurrent disease.

See Science at a Glance below for more information about senescence.

Avi Priel, PhD

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Brause Family Initiative for Quality of Life Grant

Cancer pain, from tumor metastasis or chemotherapy, dramatically hampers a cancer patient’s quality of life, even with painkillers. The main analgesics for cancer pain are opioids. While opioids help in early stages of cancer, the need to increase the dosage or switch to a more potent opioid leads to devastating adverse effects. A treatment alternative, medical cannabis, comprises many plant subtypes with different pain-alleviation properties. Prof. Priel is studying these phytocannabinoids to provide a roadmap for developing non-opioid drugs for cancer pain.

Keren Yizhak, PhD

Technion, Israel Institute of Technology

Research Career Development Award

Finding markers to predict if a cancer patient will respond to treatment is a top priority. Using single-cell RNA sequencing, scientists have found specific genes and cellular states linked to how well a patient responds to treatment, but these markers only work for specific types of cancer. The Yizhak lab is analyzing ~1 million immune cells from cancer patients who received immunotherapy, to try to identify the best cellular groups and genes for accurate predictions and to determine the most effective biomarkers for treating patients using immunotherapy.

Noga Ron-Harel, PhD

Technion, Israel Institute of Technology

The Marjorie B. Cohen Memorial Research Career Development Award

Aged cancer patients are less tolerant to the detrimental side effects of classical therapies, especially immunotherapy, as the immune response may weaken with age. Dr. Ron-Harel is investigating cellular and systemic effects of aging on immunotherapy, looking at T cells’ central role in the immune defense against cancer. Her team hopes to identify metabolic barriers impairing T-cell therapy in the aged, which could lead to the development of novel treatments that improve therapeutic outcomes by enhancing the metabolic fitness of aged T cells.

Science At A Glance

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What Is Senescence?

Senescence is a state in which cells lose their ability to divide and proliferate. Senescence can act as a protective mechanism to prevent the uncontrolled proliferation of damaged or potentially harmful cells. When cells experience stress or damage that could lead to cancer development, they may enter a state of senescence, effectively stopping their ability to divide and form tumors.

Some cancer therapies aim to induce senescence in cancer cells as a way to stop their growth. There is ongoing research to better understand the complex connection between senescence and cancer to develop more targeted and effective therapeutic strategies.

Chapter Highlights

ICRF Chicago Welcomes Rick Wise as Incoming Chapter Co-Chair

We are excited to announce the addition of Rick Wise, as the incoming Co-Chair of the ICRF Chicago chapter, joining Chip Serlin. Rick brings with him a wealth of leadership experience and a deep commitment to our cause. Together with Chip, we are confident that Rick's leadership qualities will further strengthen our chapter’s goals.

Read more about Rick

Upcoming Events

United Airlines NYC Half Marathon 

Last chance to join #TeamICRF and have a guaranteed place in the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon on Sunday, March 17th. We have one spot left! Don't miss your chance to be part of helping to end the suffering caused by cancer.  

If you already have a spot, you can still join Team ICRF to help in the fight against cancer.

Please email deirdre.heiss@icrfonline.org for more information.

Learn more

News Roundup

  • Why Is Cancer Rising In Young Adults? (Verywell Health) In the past few decades, cases of early-onset cancer, those diagnosed in people under 50, have been increasing, not just in the US, but globally.

Become a Monthly Donor

A little goes a long way, as the saying goes. This applies to donations too. A monthly donation to ICRF can have a big impact in a lot of ways. A stable stream of income helps us fund groundbreaking cancer research, from new treatments to new diagnostic tools to mitigating post-treatment effects to a better understanding of how cancer works. Your donation, large or small, will help us end the suffering caused by cancer.

Support Cancer Research

Planned Giving

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With a planned gift to the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), you can make a meaningful impact on countless cancer patients and their loved ones for years to come. To learn more about including ICRF in your estate planning, please contact Alan Herman at alan.herman@icrfonline.org or call 347-218-5946.

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