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March 20, 2020

Special Shabbat Message from Dr. Mark A. Israel Ahead of the 2020 Scientific Review Panel Deliberations

ICRF News | Mark A. Israel, MD
As Shabbat approaches, I wanted to share my thoughts with you, our steadfast supporters, as we enter this time of introspection, and restfulness.









20 March 2020


As Shabbat approaches, I wanted to share my thoughts with you, our steadfast supporters, as we enter this time of introspection and restfulness. Shabbat for me is a time of both physical and spiritual renewal, and is especially welcome at this uncertain time.

While the world is watching and waiting for scientists to find a vaccine and treatment for COVID-19, ICRF has not forgotten our cancer patients. On Monday, ICRF’s panel of expert reviewers will meet in an online setting to discuss and prioritize for funding the approximately 160 research proposals received for consideration this year. For decades these meetings have been held in New York City, but last week we realized this would be too dangerous and too disruptive for our esteemed reviewers from the United States and Canada who volunteer their expertise to our cause. Careful review of proposals is a key aspect of the “value added” ICRF offers donors who thoughtfully fund the very best cancer research, and the very best cancer research that is being conducted in Israel. These Scientific Review Panels are the heart and soul of ICRF.

Proposals that examine fundamental aspects of the biological activities driving the cancer cell such as proliferation, invasion, spread to other parts of the body, will be considered by a “basic science” panel led by Dr. David Malkin, Director of the Cancer Genetics Program at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Proposals that seek to define the importance of specific molecules and pathways for specific cancers are reviewed by a panel of “translational scientists” led by Dr. Fei-Fei Liu, Chief of the Radiation Medicine Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Toronto. And Dr. Nancy Maizels, Director, Molecular Medicine Program, University of Washington School of Medicine, will lead a third panel reviewing special programs and new initiatives.

This is an exciting time at ICRF, an exciting time for cancer research. Let’s celebrate Shabbat knowing that we are helping cancer patients everywhere, while we actively hunker down to avoid this scourge.

Mark A. Israel, MD
Preston and Virginia Kelsey Distinguished Chair in Cancer at Dartmouth Medical School, Emeritus
Director Emeritus, Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth
National Executive Director, Israel Cancer Research Fund

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