July 2021 Newsletter | Toronto

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The answer to cancer is research!

Sarcoma is a rare, soft-tissue cancer made up of many “subtypes” because it can arise from a variety of tissue structures (nerves, muscles, joints, bone, fat, blood vessels; the body’s “connective tissues”).  Additionally, Sarcoma may also occur in the bones.  Basically, because these tissues are found everywhere on the body, Sarcomas can arise anywhere.

Meet Yosef Yarden
An ICRF Funded Sarcoma researcher. Please take the time to read this fascinating article about Professor Yarden’s research that is focused on Ewing Sarcoma, this Study by Prof. Yosef Yarden offers new hope for Sarcoma patients.
Read Yosef's Article about Ewings Sarcoma
Yosef Yarden's Bio
Head Department of Biological Regulation Director, Dwek Institute for Cancer Therapy Research, MICC
Born in Israel, Prof. Yosef Yarden received his BSc in biological and geological sciences from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1980), and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science (1985). His postdoctoral training was undertaken at Genentech, Inc., in San Francisco and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1988, he joined the Weizmann Institute of Science’s faculty. At the Institute, he has served as Dean of the Faculty of Biology (1997-1999), Vice President for Academic Affairs (1999-2001), the first Director of the MD Moross Institute for Cancer Research (1999-2001), and Dean of the Feinberg Graduate School (2001-2007). He is the new director of the Institute for Cancer Therapy Research of the Moross Integrated Cancer Center and is the Harold and Zelda Goldenberg Professor of Molecular Cell Biology.

Prof. Yarden’s research focuses on a vital family of proteins called “growth factors,” hormone-like molecules that play a critical role in embryo development and wound healing; and, particularly, on a group of four membrane-bound cellular proteins known as “epidermal growth factor receptors.” His research is helping to shed light on the way growth factors and their receptors promote tumor growth. Prof. Yarden discovered the function of a molecular amplifier, called HER2, that strengthens the chemical signals that cause cells to become cancerous. This amplifier is an enzyme and a receptor found in large quantities on cancerous cell membranes, especially in breast, ovary, and gastric tumors. This finding established a foundation for new cancer treatments based on “silencing” the molecular amplifier.

From 2011 till 2014 Prof. Yarden served as President of the Federations of Israeli Societies of Experimental Biology (FISEB/ILANIT). Among his many honors and awards are the EMET Prize in Biochemistry (2007), the Leoplod Griffuel Award of Foundation ARC pour la Recherche sur le Cancer (2015), the 2008 Hamilton Fairly Award of the European Societies of Clinical Oncology (ESMO), the MERIT award of the U.S. National Cancer Institute (2005), the TEVA Founders Prize (2004), and the Michael Bruno Prize of the Yad Hanadiv (Rothschild) Fund (2000). In 2010 he was the recipient of the Ernst W. Bertner Memorial Award from the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center, and, in 2012, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Research. He was elected to the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities in 2007.

Israeli scientists find promising target for breast cancer and other cancer therapeutics


Our perception of the specific multistep molecular mechanistic process which regulates cancer initiation and progression found in this study, may allow us to develop new therapeutic strategies to optimise cancer treatment, said Prof Dan Levy who led this research


Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev (NIBN) scientist Prof Dan Levy has discovered a novel mechanism that is a promising target for cancer therapeutics.

“Our perception of the specific multistep molecular mechanistic process which regulates cancer initiation and progression found in this study may allow us to develop new therapeutic strategies to optimise cancer treatment. While we investigated this mechanism in breast cancer models, we are currently expanding it to other cancer types such as melanoma and glioblastoma,” says Prof Levy.

The findings were published in Science Advances.


Read More

BGU scientists discover genetic link between aging brain and cancers


Researchers from Ben-Gurion University (BGU) have identified a gene responsible for activating glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, which is also partly responsible for aging in our brain.

The study, led by Dr. Barak Rotblat of BGU's Department of Life Sciences in the Faculty of Natural Sciences and of the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev (NIBN), was published in the peer-reviewed journal Aging late last week. The same genes that make glioblastoma resistant to chemotherapy are activated in an aging brain, according to the research. And these genes were unknown before the study. "Studying cancer teaches us about aging and vice versa," Rotblat said.

Rotblat's research has focused on a new class of genes coding for long noncoding RNA. Indeed, gene products are usually RNA that code for proteins, but, while there are 20,000 “classic” protein-coding genes, we now know that there are at least 20,000 genes whose products are long noncoding RNA.

Read More

Israel’s OncoHost, UK’s NHS to study cancer patient responses to immunotherapies


Startup’s blood test aims to predict which cancer patients will react better to treatment; 8 clinical trials will be set up in the UK.


Israel-based startup OncoHost, the developer of a blood test to predict how well cancer patients will react to treatment, said it will collaborate with the National Health Service (NHS) to set up eight clinical trial sites in the United Kingdom.

The trials will focus on patients diagnosed with advanced stages of melanoma or non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), aiming to predict their response to immunotherapy treatment. Partnering with the NHS will give the OncoHost “a tremendous opportunity” to expand its research and enhance its technology’s capabilities, the company said.

The new trial sites will join OncoHost’s ongoing study, which uses the company’s host response profiling platform, called PROphet.


Read More

New nanochip reveals how immune system copes with cancer


Scientists at the Ben-Gurion University in the Negev announced on Sunday that they have developed a nanochip that could propel cancer immunotherapy forward. Their findings were published Friday in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Science Advances.

This study has heavily important implications for medicine and biology. "The field of nanotechnology took off about 20 years ago." says principal investigator Prof. Mark Schvartzman. "Nowadays, the field offers unique tools that serve scientists from many different fields. These tools allow us to create, view and control objects just 10 nanometers or less in size." Co-author Prof. Angel Porgador, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at BGU explains how this innovative approach is at the forefront of cancer research.

"We managed to understand how the size and physical arrangement of the receptors on the cell affect how the white blood cells 'talk to' the other cells in the body," Porgador said. "Today, cell activities within the body can be directed to fight cancer by genetically engineering receptors."But there is a need to develop other methods that are effective against different types of cancer," he added.

Read More

ICRF Scientist Makes Inroads in Metastasis Inhibition

The results of Professor Tal Burstyn-Cohen’s ICRF-funded research, “Deciphering Antitumor Roles for Protein S,” were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in the “Medicine, Research & Experimental” category. Professor Burstyn-Cohen is currently in the Faculty of Dental Medicine at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

The focus of Burstyn-Cohen’s investigation is on understanding the factors that control tumor metastasis because it is the metastases, rather than the original tumor, that most often lead to the patient’s death. Her lab research in mice produced the unexpected result that a molecule found in many tissues, Protein S (PROS1), which encourages cancer cell growth when produced by cancer cells, actually inhibited metastasis in the lungs when expressed by immune cells. Further investigation showed that PROS1 functions like a switch to restrain inflammation, which supports metastasis.

Professor Burstyn-Cohen’s research has been effective in identifying the role PROS1 plays in decreasing metastases in lung and breast cancers in mice. Professor Burstyn-Cohen explained to ICRF that, “This research finds that the same protein can either promote or inhibit cancer progression. We must now understand how these opposing roles play into metastasis, and shift the balance towards inhibiting metastasis. If the tumor-promoting form of the protein eventually dominates in patients, our findings may also explain why tumors acquire resistance to treatments.” She is optimistic this approach can be applied to additional cancers and to clinical trials in the future.

The work was led by Dr. Avi Maimon, who received an ICRF post-doctoral booster grant for this project. 


ICRF (embroidered) Branded Hoodies with our personal touch on the hood that reads:
The Answer to Cancer is Research. You will receive a $25 donation receipt with your purchase. 

We hope you love and enjoy your sweatshirt! 

Wear it loud and proud. 

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Your lasting legacy through ICRF will impact cancer research in Israel for generations to come. With a planned gift to Israel Cancer Research Fund, you can leave a philanthropic legacy that will help those touched by cancer – now and for years to come. Whether you would like to put your donation to work today or in the future, there are a variety of opportunities for making a legacy commitment to ICRF.

Please contact Jennifer Ouaknine at or at 647-973-4273 to learn how you can create a lasting impact on the future of cancer research.  The Answer to Cancer is Research!
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