Since 1975 the Israel Cancer Research Fund’s mission has been to support groundbreaking cancer research in Israel. In that time ICRF has funded over 2,800 grants, many of which have led to major breakthroughs in cancer science.

Read the 2023 Impact Statement for more information about newly funded research, current grants, and more.

ICRF In the News

In addition to these milestone breakthroughs, ICRF scientists are regularly featured in the news for their groundbreaking research:

‘Complete’ Models of Human Embryos Created from Stem Cells in Lab

The Guardian | Ian Sample

Yosef Yarden, PhD

Scientists Say They Can Short-Circuit Lung Cancer Gene

Israel21c | John Jeffay

Read more about ICRF scientist’s newsworthy accomplishments

Milestones in Cancer Research

ICRF is proud of the many grantees that have been and continue to be involved in major cancer research breakthroughs. Selected achievements made possible by ICRF funding include:

Drs. Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover


A drug used to treat multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, was developed based on the research of ICRF Research Professorship Grant Recipients and Nobel Laureates Drs. Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover of the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

Prior to this, there were no effective treatment options. Today, this drug, along with more efficacious second- and third-generation drugs based on the same research, are the standard of care used worldwide, while the median survival for patients of this once fatal disease has nearly quadrupled.

Dr. Eli Canaani


The first drug to directly target cancer cells was developed based on the research of ICRF grantee Dr. Eli Canaani of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Gleevec® was the first drug on the market to directly target the cancer-causing cells in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) while leaving healthy cells alone. Gleevec changed the course of this once fatal disease, turning it into a manageable condition. Time magazine put the drug on its cover and dubbed it a “bullet” against this devastating form of cancer.

Dr. Alberto Gabizon


The first drug encapsulated in a liposome (or microscopic fat bubble) for direct delivery to a tumor site was developed by ICRF grantee Dr. Alberto Gabizon of Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Doxil® has a prolonged duration of circulation compared to other liposomes and dramatically decreased toxicities compared to native drugs. Doxil was the first liposomal cytotoxic agent approved to treat a solid tumor and currently has a role in the treatment of ovarian cancer, AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma and several other forms of cancer.

Drs. Barda Rotter and Moshe Oren

The p53 Gene

Originally thought to cause cancer, after additional research it was discovered that the p53 gene, in an unmutated form, was actually a tumor suppressor. Its role in the majority of human cancers was further clarified by ICRF grantees Drs. Moshe Oren and Varda Rotter of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

This gene is often referred to as the “guardian of the genome” due to its role in regulating DNA repair and cell division. It suppresses tumors by either repairing damaged DNA or triggering the death of cells where the DNA is too damaged to be repaired.

Dr. Howard Cedar

DNA Methylation

This is a molecular process that turns genes on and off and acts as guides for reproducing cells by telling the cells which parts of the DNA should be used and which should not. Pioneering work in this area was conducted by ICRF Research Professorship grantee and Israel Prize winner, Dr. Howard Cedar of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School.

Video: ICRF Lunch & Learn, Dec 2020 with Dr. Howard Cedar

Video: Interview with Dr. Cedar and Yuval Dor, PhD

Dr. Ephrat Levy-Lahad

The RAD51 Gene

The discovery that a minor mutation in this gene increases the risk of breast cancer in women with the BRCA2 gene mutation was made by ICRF grantee Dr. Ephrat Levy-Lahad of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Dr. Yair Reisner

Novel Bone Marrow Transplant Technique

This technique, developed by ICRF grantee Dr. Yair Reisner of the Weizmann Institute of Science, greatly expanded the donor pool for leukemia treatment.