Brian Blum
September 10, 2019, Updated September 11, 2019

The Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) is awarding $4.3 million in new funding, encompassing 69 grants to Israeli researchers searching for cures and treatments.

“The rate of discovery in cancer research is accelerating and Israel has become a major source of innovation in the understanding and treatment of cancer,” said ICRF International Executive Director Dr. Mark Israel. “We are honored to support the work of Israel’s brilliant scientists to enable them to carry on their lifesaving work.”

The 2019-2020 grants, awarded September 9 at a gala in Manhattan, focus on cancer genetics, targeted cancer therapies and immunotherapy. The grants for immunotherapy are part of a collaboration between the ICRF and the US-based Cancer Research Institute.

Some of the 69 grantees include:

• Nobel Prize laureates Profs. Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover, from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, who are researching the role of ubiquitin proteins in control of cancer.
• Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro of Tel Aviv University, who is designing treatment to prevent brain metastases.
• Prof. Ofer Mandelboim of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who is identifying checkpoint inhibitors to be used in immunotherapy.
Dr. Rony Dahan of the Weizmann Institute of Science, who works toward increasing the effectiveness of immunotherapy.
• Dr. Irit Ben Aharon of the Rambam Health Care Campus, who is researching the relationship between chemotherapy, cancer and pregnancy.
• Dr. Igor Koman of Ariel University, who is researching ways to better use stem cells for cancer treatment.
• Dr. Michal Brunwasser-Meirom from the Technion, whose specialty is harnessing gut bacteria and viruses for cancer immunotherapy.
• Dr. Erez Levanon of Bar-Ilan University, who is teaming up with Dr. Kevin Morris at the City of Hope National Medical Center in California to dive deeper into the role of genetics in cancer.

ICRF-funded research has led to the development of lifesaving drugs including Gleevec for leukemia; Doxil for breast cancer, bladder cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma, lymphoma and acute lymphocytic leukemia; and Velcade, the first proteasome inhibitor approved for human use.

The Israel Cancer Research Fund, headquartered in New York, is the largest single source of private funds for cancer research in Israel. Since its founding in 1975, ICRF has granted more than $72 million.

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