Aaron Ciechanover, M.D., D.Sc.
Distinguished Research Professor,
Tumor and Vascular Biology Research Center
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
“The financial support that I received from the ICRF has been essential in the development of my scientific career, especially in its early stages when ICRF supported my Postdoctoral Fellowship, and then funded a generous Research Career Development Award, when I initiated my own independent research laboratory at the Technion. ICRF support was crucial because there were few other sources from which such support could have come. There is no doubt that the continued ICRF support that I have enjoyed over the years played an important role in the groundbreaking discovery of the Ubiquitin System, the body’s machinery for removing damaged proteins. This discovery led to the awarding of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Professor Avram Hershko and myself, making us the first Israelis to receive a Nobel Prize in the Sciences. As an Israeli scientist, the attainment of this award carries a significance that extends beyond the merely personal. It signifies a recognition and an acceptance of Israel’s efforts to maintain an internationally renowned scientific community in this small country. Many of these scientific achievements resulted from the support of the ICRF.”
Howard Cedar, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Developmental Biology
and Cancer Research
Hebrew University/Hadassah Medical School
“It is clear that only through basic research at the molecular level will cancer be conquered. With unusual foresight, the ICRF has made a big contribution to this goal, both by encouraging really excellent Israeli scientists, and by promoting quality projects which truly serve to unlock the basic secrets of cancer.”
Honorary Member of the Board of Trustees
Sponsor of Two ICRF Professorships
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
“Thanks to the ICRF, I can now hold hope in the palm of my hand, in the form of a very special pill. When I was diagnosed with leukemia in the winter of 2005, I felt like I had received a death sentence; but, that sentence was commuted that spring, when I started taking Gleevec®. In 1992, ICRF-funded scientist, Dr. Eli Canaani, and his team identified the molecular structure of the Philadelphia chromosome. This breakthrough laid the foundation for the development of the drug Gleevec®, for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and a rare form of stomach cancer. I do not feel that I deserve to be called a “cancer survivor” because that phrase suggests a level of suffering I honestly have never experienced. However, make no mistake, my cancer was very real and my situation very serious, but I now have a new lease on life, since I began my treatments. Although gratitude is what sparked my decision to donate to ICRF, my inspiration was backed up by plain business sense. Israel has a cost-effective research structure and superior intellectual assets. As a businessman, I can tell you – because the math is very simple -- the more money that ICRF can raise, the more cancer research can be achieved. After visiting Israel and speaking with ICRF scientists, I am confident that we will see the day when chemotherapy and radiation as we now know it, will be a thing of the past, and that drug therapies will target the cancer cells directly, without harming healthy cells.”
Moshe Oren, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Molecular Cell Biology
Weizmann Institute of Science
“When I returned to the Weizmann Institute from my post-doc in the U.S., I attempted to continue my research on a protein called p53. The study of this protein, which is now in the focus of molecular cancer research worldwide, was at that time only in its infancy. Very little was known about p53, and most people did not appreciate its significance and thus the need to support research on it. The only agency to offer support was the ICRF. This ICRF grant – the first one that I received – made a lot of difference. It allowed me to make my first steps as an independent investigator in Israel. ICRF grants are a true blessing to small labs operating on very limited budgets. This is particularly true for young investigators, who rely on the faith of the grantor in their promise and potential, rather than on their long established track record. In showing such faith and providing these scientists with funds to prove their promise, the ICRF has been playing an extermely important role in the development of cancer research in Israel. In many ways, the contribution of the ICRF is unique – giving more chances to more people to try as many ideas as possible, in the hope of bringing out the best of what the Israeli cancer research community has to offer.”
Varda Rotter, Ph.D.
Professor and Chairperson, Department of Molecular Cell Biology
Weizmann Institute of Science
“Today I hold a professorial position in the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. When I look back and think to whom I should be grateful for this wonderful dream come true, there is no doubt that I should thank the ICRF. Starting as a postdoctoral fellow, I was awarded an ICRF Fellowship that was basically the seed money for me to start to develop my own laboratory at the Weizmann. This was then followed by a Research Career Development Award. This support was then continued by specific grants on various aspects of my research. My main research focuses on the p53 tumor suppressor gene. This field, which was less appreciated early on, has since become one of the key issues in cancer research. I would like to emphasize that ICRF supported the p53 research also in its very early steps and was probably a central determinant in helping to pioneer this field.”
Peter J. Stambrook, Ph.D.
Chairman, ICRF International Scientific Council
Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics Biochemistry and Microbiology
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
“I have chaired the ICRF Scientific Review Panel which reviews the individual grant applications, as well as the International Scientific Council which formulates policy, for several years, but it is only in 2011 that I made my first trip to Israel. Perhaps the most striking and most relevant part of this visit was my impression of the scientists with whom I met and the response of these scientists to the ICRF. The Israeli scientists are, without a doubt, world class. My meeting with them impressed upon me even more than before that the ICRF has to recruit the best possible scientists in the USA and Canada to review, evaluate and pass judgment on the world-class science that is being submitted to the ICRF for research support. To date, we have been able to do so, and it is imperative that we continue to do so to maintain our credibility. Another factor in maintaining credibility is to have the grant review process completely unbiased and transparent so that it is absolutely clear to the Israeli researchers that grant awards are based exclusively on merit with no political or personal agendas. The need for these grants is indisputable. For many, the ICRF serves as a scientific lifeline and a mechanism by which they can ultimately parlay the relatively small amounts of monies we provide into million dollar grants from national agencies. The potential benefits from our communal efforts are enormous in ensuring the continuation of the best cancer research in the world. For those who are unfortunate enough to develop cancer, there will be new and better therapies and a better quality of life and hope as a consequence of the research performed by these ICRF-funded scientists.”