November 2023
So much has changed in a month, but our mission remains the same.

On Saturday, October 7, a horrible act of violence was perpetrated against Israel by Hamas. The shocking and tragic events over the last month remind us of the frailty of daily life and how normalcy can change into chaos in an instant.

ICRF is in communication with all of our funded scientists, offering empathy and support.

Many of our researchers are currently serving as reservists, providing care in hospitals, or sheltering and securing the safety of their loved ones, while simultaneously continuing to ensure that their research moves forward.

In these dark times, ICRF will remain committed to its core mission: supporting these researchers who do the foundational science that makes cancer treatments and cures possible. The adversity we face cannot deter us from our vital mission of ending the global suffering caused by cancer. It's crucial to continue our mission to secure the resources needed for research in the coming year and demonstrate our unwavering support for Israel. We hope you will continue to participate and contribute to this critical work.
Israel Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research Institute Announce Co-Funding of a Project Grant
The Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) have awarded a collaborative grant to Michael Berger, PhD, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. This is the fifth time the two organizations have worked together to sponsor innovative research in immunotherapy. The project grant will provide funding of $180,000 over three years. 

Professor Berger’s project, “Improving Solid Tumor Immunotherapy Through Rewiring of T-cell’s Mitochondrial Metabolism,” will use a biosynthesis process and block production of a specific protein to reenergize T-cells, a type of immune cell, that have become impaired by the tumor microenvironment, to make them more effective in fighting cancers. 

Israel Cancer Research Fund and Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation Announce Grantees for New Aging and Cancer Research Program
The Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) and the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF) have selected the grantees for their new, two-year collaborative program to address the rising incidence of cancer due to aging. The two teams, each comprised of one Israeli and one American, will receive $400,000 over two years, with an additional $100,000 extension to continue their research based on progress. 
The awardees include Drs. Raul Mostoslavsky from Harvard Medical School and Haim Cohen from Bar-Ilan University. Their project expects to identify why a special component called SIRT6, which protects against cancer, decreases with age. They hope to find ways to manipulate this component to prevent cancer in aging. Drs. Charles Brenner from City of Hope National Medical Center and Fuad Iraqi from Tel Aviv University aim to pinpoint specific genes that play a role in the initiation of intestinal cancer in response to aging and dietary factors. 

ICRF In the News
Dumpster Diving in Cancer Cells Yields Insights on Immunity
Professor Yifat Merbl, ICRF-Cancer Research Institute Clinic and Laboratory Integration Program Grant recipient, and her team discovered a mechanism within the body that allows cancer cells to bypass immune system defenses.  

November is the awareness month for lung, pancreatic, and gastric cancers, three areas where ICRF grants make ongoing significant research in our scientists' labs possible. Additionally, November 16th is World Pancreatic Cancer Day, a time for everyone around the world to come together and help raise awareness for this disease.
Spotlight on ICRF Researchers
Bar-Ilan University 
Machla Liebe Librach Stomach Cancer Research Fund RCDA 

Gastric cancer (GC) leads to some 700,000 deaths each year. A significant risk factor for GC is being infected with the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterium, which infects almost half of the world’s population. When DNA gets damaged, it can cause genetic changes that lead to cancer. Dr. Maman’s lab created a map of the damage caused by H. pylori infection in DNA. The lab now aims to harness these findings to develop tools for early diagnosis of cancerous processes in infected individuals. 
Weizmann Institute of Science 
Project Grant 
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a major type of lung cancer that can affect smokers and nonsmokers. Dr. Yarden focuses on drug-resistant NSCLC carrying mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR). EGFR-mutated lung tumors sequentially develop new mutations during treatment with 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-generation drugs known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). He and his lab hope to test an experimental upfront treatment regimen that combines the power of antibodies and TKIs to prolong patient survival.
Technion, Israel Institute of Technology 
Project Grant
Lung adenocarcinoma comprises some 40% of all lung-cancer cases, the leading cause of cancer deaths globally. The RBM10 gene, which has tumor-suppressor powers, is the most mutated gene in this cancer, with mutations evident in more than 20% of invasive tumors. There are 221 genes that, when inhibited, selectively eradicate lung adenocarcinomas in cells carrying RBM10 mutations. The Ayoub lab is focusing on one such gene, WEE1, to understand the molecular mechanisms that cause the death of RBM10-deficient lung adenocarcinoma cells. 
Hebrew University of Jerusalem 
Acceleration Grant

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly and aggressive cancer types – often because it is diagnosed very late, when the tumor has metastasized to distant organs. Metastasis correlates with a bad prognosis and poor response to treatments. Drawing from his pioneering studies and using cutting-edge experimental tools, Dr. Parnas and his lab are working to better understand the malignant and metastatic processes and to find new markers for early detection, potentially leading to new therapeutic targets. 
Science At A Glance
What Is Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor?
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) is a key gene in the development of several cancers. Mutations in the EGFR gene are particularly relevant in the context of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a major type of lung cancer that can affect both smokers and nonsmokers. In patients with NSCLC, especially those who have never smoked, EGFR mutations are relatively common. These mutations can lead to the overactivity of the EGFR protein, resulting in uncontrolled cell growth and division. Targeted therapies have emerged to inhibit EGFR signaling, significantly enhancing treatment options for NSCLC patients by tailoring care to the tumor's genetic characteristics.
Connecticut Gala Honors Dr. Leslie R. Freedman and Rabbi Mitch Hurvitz 
The Connecticut Tower of Hope Gala held in October in Stamford raised over $250,000 to fund innovative cancer research. Hosted by Emmy Award-winning actor, comedian, and author, Judy Gold, the event honored two local community leaders. Dr. Leslie R. Freedman, currently a member of ICRF International’s Board of Trustees and former chair of the Connecticut chapter, was the Tower of Hope Honoree, and Rabbi Mitch Hurvitz, Senior Rabbi at Temple Sholom in Greenwich, was the Community Hero Honoree. 

(pictures by Aviva Maller) 

Professor Avram Hershko, Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at New York Gala

Digital Influencer and Advocate Lizzy Savetsky hosted the ICRF Gala in New York. ICRF supporters raised $500,000 and counting while gathering together to honor Professor Avram Hershko with a Lifetime Achievement Award for all that he has done for cancer research. Special thanks to our Premier Sponsor, the Joseph Safra Foundation.

Chicago Honors Jennifer McGuffin and Richard Herman at Tower of Hope Gala

The Chicago Tower of Hope Gala attendees raised $787,000 and counting to support the best and brightest scientists conducting groundbreaking cancer research in Israel. The Chicago chapter was proud to honor Jennifer McGuffin with a Humanitarian Award and Richard Herman with a Leadership Award.

Pictures from the gala will be available on our website soon.
Upcoming Events

TCS New York City Marathon

ICRF is proud to be an official charity partner of the 2023 TCS New York City Marathon. Together, we are fundraising to support groundbreaking cancer research conducted by the best and brightest scientists at leading institutions throughout Israel, with a team goal of $25,000.


Chicago: Healthy Eating During the Holidays

Join Lori Bumbaco, MS, RDN, CSO, LDN, Oncology Dietician to learn how the holidays don't need to sabotage your healthy diet habits, and simple strategies to savor holiday food with confidence.  

This program is in partnership with the Cancer Wellness Center, Sharsheret, and the Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics. Participants can join in-person to meet all of the organizations and try samples from the demo or can tune-in virtually for the lecture portion of the program.


Giving Tuesday

Join ICRF in funding the future of cancer research this Giving Tuesday, November 28, 2023Now more than ever, it's important for us to ensure that scientists have funding for their research. This year we are raising money towards funding a new Research Career Development Award (RCDA) grant, which is awarded to promising early career scientists who have recently established their own laboratories and are on their way to becoming outstanding independent investigators. 

Watch our website and social media for updates as the date gets closer to support our goal and help us spread the word.
News Roundup
Lung Cancer Rates Soar in Younger Women Than Men (News Nation) A new report by the American Cancer Society shows that women are being diagnosed with lung cancer at a much higher rate than men.

FDA Proposes Ban on Hair-straightening, Smoothing Products Over Cancer-causing Chemicals (USA Today) The FDA has proposed a ban on formaldehyde and other formaldehyde-releasing chemicals being used in hair-straightening and smoothing products due to those chemicals being linked to long-term health concerns including an increased risk of cancer. 

How a Common Stomach Bug Causes Cancer (The Atlantic) Helicobacter pylori (h. Pylori) bacteria is a common bacteria that about half of the world’s population carry in their stomach. For many people, there is no effect, but for some, the bacteria mutates and can lead to gastric cancer.

Yaakov Maman, PhD, Machla Liebe Librach Stomach Cancer Research Fund RCDA recipient, (spotlighted above) is currently working to develop tools for early diagnosis. Read more about his research.

This Vaccine Protects Against Cancer—but Not Enough Boys Are Getting It (Wired) Although the HPV vaccine is primarily known for the prevention of cervical cancer, it also protects against several other types of cancer, including head and neck, vaginal, anal, and penile cancers. For a variety of reasons, it was primarily targeted at the group that would be most impacted by the results when it was first rolled out, but now that it is more affordable and more widely available, many countries are starting to do gender-neutral vaccine campaigns. 
Double the Impact of Your Tax-Deductable 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 to find out if yours is one of the many employers that participate in these programs. 
Planned Giving
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 or call 347-218-5946.