ICRF Monthly Newsletter – December 2017

December 31, 2017 5:11 am



We’ve taken the liberty of sending you this first issue of our new ICRF newsletter. Each month we will feature an ICRF funded scientist, upcoming events, and things to keep you in the ‘know’. If at any time you wish to unsubscribe, please use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this or any issue.

ICRF Welcomes Jennifer Ouaknine

ICRF is pleased to announce that Jennifer Ouaknine joined our team effective on September 11, 2017, as our new Executive Director.

Jennifer is a leader with a proven track record for delivering strong results in fundraising, event planning and execution. Prior to joining ICRF, Jennifer held positions of increasing responsibility at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, specializing in campaign management, and management of donor relations for several of UJA’s divisions.

Jennifer has already proven herself at ICRF in her first 3 months there, bringing in several new Major gifts, and executing flawlessly 2 fabulous events.

ICRF is excited for Jennifer to bring her experience, energy, and creativity to our organization os that we can further our mission to find treatments and cures for all forms of cancer, utilizing the unique benefits Israel and it’s scientists.

Honouring Excellence and looking to the future!

ICRF has the unique ability to fund any deserving scientist regardless of their institutional affiliation. In fact, ICRF has awarded over 2300 grants to scientists located in all of the major (over 20) hospitals, medical and research centers throughout the State of Israel – from the Soroka Medical Center at the Ben Gurion University in the Negev, to the Migal-Galilee Technology Center in Kiryat-Shmona. We want to welcome you to our family of scientists and show you how ICRF dollars go directly to fund basic cancer research at the cellular level, in Israel.

Featured Cancer Researcher

Prof. Avram Hershko,
Biochemist and Nobel laureate in Chemistry

Prof. Avram Hershko was born in Hungary, and immigrated to Israel in 1950. Since 1971, he has been on the faculty at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, and was appointed as a Distinguished Professor in 1998.

Five years after Prof. Hershko started his research at the Technion, his team (which included his then student, Aaron Ciechanover) discovered the system that degrades proteins – the ubiquitin system. “Proteins,” Prof. Hershko explains, “are the machines that carry out and regulate all processes in the cells. However, once a protein has done its job, it has to be disposed of. We needed to understand this process of protein degradation.” “We found that a small protein, called ubiquitin, marks the proteins to be degraded at the right time and the right place in the cell,” Prof. Ciechanover relates. “If proteins are not degraded at the right time, the cell continues to divide unchecked. This is what happens in many cancer cells; something has gone wrong in the ubiquitin system.”

ICRF’s Scientific Review Panel recognized the potential of this research. Dr. Ciechanover was a postdoctoral-fellow at MIT and wanted to return to Israel to continue his research, but he needed funding. He was awarded an ICRF Research Career Development Award in 1985, which enabled him to realize his talent and potential in Israel. ICRF has been funding him and this research into the process of protein degradation ever since, and awarded Profs. Hershko and Ciechanover ICRF’s coveted Research Professorships, the highest research grant designation, in 2002 and 2003 respectively.

In May of 2003, the FDA announced the approval of a new drug, Velcade, to treat multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. Millennium Pharmaceuticals, which developed Velcade, stated that it represents a “completely new approach to treating cancer.” Velcade is the first drug specifically targeted against the ubiquitin system. It was developed based on thirty years of research by Profs. Hershko and Ciechanover. “We are sure that many other new drugs will be discovered that are targeted against specific processes that go wrong in the ubiquitin system in different types of cancers,” remarked Profs. Hershko and Ciechanover. “These include cancer of the colon, breast, prostate, and melanomas.”

Both Profs. Hershko and Ciechanover have received numerous awards validating their scientific achievements, but their most significant recognition came in 2004, when they became the first Israelis ever to win the “Nobel Prize in Chemistry” for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation.

“I am very grateful to the Israel Cancer Research Fund for supporting the work of cancer researchers in Israel, including my own research,” said Prof. Hershko. “ICRF seeded my scientific trip,” Prof. Ciechanover noted. “My research is a product of ICRF.”

Message from ICRF Board

Dear Friend of Israel Cancer Research Fund,

On behalf of the Board, Staff, and many volunteers of ICRF, we would like to wish you and your loved one’s a Happy Chanukah. ICRF currently funds 69 gifted scientists at 13 institutions in Israel and North America who are working hard every day to find cures and treatments for many types of cancers. Like the Maccabees we fight hard against a big challenge and we do believe in the miracle that one day Cancer will be a chronic disease that people live with for a very long time.

Wishing for more progress in 2018,


Norman Shiner,
President, ICRF Toronto

Past events: ICRF Presents – Duets

A spectacular evening at Koerner Hall! Music really can lift a room like nothing else. The theme of duets is Inspiration and Hope. This years event was chaired by Jeff Bly, Gillian Tessis and Richard Flomen. We had 8 incredibly talented Rising Stars on the cusp of great things in their careers. They were coupled with 4 equally outstanding Stars who’s careers are just breaking with songs on the radio, they are stars on the TV and of course have massive social media success. We hope you were inspired and enjoyed the evening as much as we did, see you next year at Presents!

View Album


Categorised in: