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New York Foundations Launch Cancer Research Collaboration To Partner Israeli, North American Scientists

The Alan B. Slifka Foundation, the Israel Cancer Research Fund, and the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation to advance research that targets  fusion proteins in pediatric cancer and the nature of metastasis

The Alan B. Slifka Foundation (ABSF), the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), and the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF) have partnered to establish an innovative cancer research program that will pair scientists in North America with scientists in Israel.

The partnership will harness the resources of three New York-based nonprofit institutions and leading North American and Israeli scientists to advance research of rare pediatric cancers and the metastatic process.

Two groups of cancer investigators will each receive $250,000 for two years. One group will study fusion proteins that form in pediatric cancer, prioritizing Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone disease that primarily affects children and young adults. The second group will study the role of epigenetics, or the process by which genes get turned on and off, in causing cancer to spread from its original tumor site, a process known as metastasis. Metastasis is the leading cause of cancer death.

“This collaboration is an exciting opportunity to create an innovative and collaborative research alliance between Israeli and North American scientists. We anticipate that the collaboration will move science to the clinic more rapidly with groundbreaking treatments,” said Samuel Waxman, MD, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, and Distinguished Service Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

“This partnership, created through the collective efforts of the Israel Cancer Research Fund, the Alan B. Slifka Foundation and the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, will provide support for the funding of research that can be transformative. We expect the collaboration will provide not only insights into the underlying cellular alterations that make these malignancies life-threatening, but also targets for the development of more efficacious and less toxic therapies,” said Mark Israel, MD, National Executive Director at the Israel Cancer Research Fund.

“Long before my double tragedy of losing both my husband and son to cancer, Dr. Sam Waxman, a dear friend, explained to Alan and me that the only way to beat this beast and cure cancer is through a collaboration of scientists and institutions. Scientists must share data and work together if we are to gain a better understanding of cancer. Academic institutions encourage competition. Although this kind of competition is well-intended, it can stifle an exchange of expertise across scientific disciplines and institutions. This is why I support a model of cross-institutional collaboration. As a cancer advocate and an Israeli, a three-way international collaboration with SWCRF and ICRF is exciting and promising,” said Ariella Riva Ritvo-Slifka PhD, President and Chairwoman of the Alan B. Slifka Foundation and Assistant Professor, Clinical Faculty at the Yale University School Of Medicine.

The ICRF and the SWCRF will jointly administer the research program, and the selected investigators will be required to present their research findings each year at the SWCRF Annual Scientific Review held in New York City. The organizations will issue a request for applications (RFA) by invitation, and each organization’s scientific review boards will jointly evaluate and select the investigators.

“We anticipate that this partnership will be the beginning of a long-term relationship and will continue to expand groundbreaking research between leading scientists in Israel and North America,” added Dr. Waxman.

About Alan B. Slifka Foundation:

Founded in 1965, the Alan B. Slifka Foundation is a private family foundation dedicated to the pursuit of inclusion, diversity, peace and healing. The Foundation seeks to combat cancer, especially childhood cancer, through the support of innovative biomedical research. Among the Foundation’s top priorities is funding research into less toxic, more effective and potentially curative therapies for a variety of cancers, but especially for connective tissue cancers, known as sarcomas, that disproportionately impact children and young adults. The Alan B. Slifka Foundation is particularly interested in supporting bench-to-bedside research that results in targeted therapies, and also research that enhances our understanding of the metastatic process.

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About Israel Cancer Research Fund:

The Israel Cancer Research Fund is the largest single source of private funds for cancer research in Israel. With the 2019/2020 grants, ICRF funding has now reached more than $72 million dollars since its founding in 1975. A total of 72 grants are being funded this year at most major Israeli biomedical research institutions. Among the areas of focus for ICRF funding this year are cancer genetics, targeted cancer therapies and immunotherapy. Three grants to study immunotherapy were funded as part of a collaboration between ICRF and the Cancer Research Institute, which is a preeminent funder of immunotherapy research in the United States.  ICRF has a long history of supporting fundamental laboratory science that provides the foundation for work with clinical impact. In addition, early phase studies that seek to characterize the potential for clinical impact in the care of patients with specific tumor types have been funded as well.  Three awards for collaborative work between Israeli investigators and cancer scientists at the City of Hope National Medical Center in California are also amongst the work currently funded.

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About the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF):

The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to curing and preventing cancer. The Foundation is a pioneer in cancer research and its mission is to eradicate cancer by funding cutting-edge research that identifies and corrects abnormal gene function that causes cancer and develops minimally toxic treatments for patients. Through the Foundation’s collaborative group of world-class scientists, the Institute Without Walls, investigators share information and tools to speed the pace of cancer research. Since its inception in 1976, the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation has awarded more than $100 million to support the work of more than 200 researchers across the globe.

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