NEW YORK, Jan. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Professor Yossi Shiloh, a recipient of the prestigious Research Professorship of the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) and the Myers Professor of Cancer Genetics at Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine, has been awarded the Olav Thon Foundation's first International Research Award for Mathematics/ Natural Sciences and Medicine for 2015. He will be sharing this honor and the $660,000 prize money with Professor Judith Campisi of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Berkeley, California. The ceremony will take place on March 5, 2015 at the University of Norway in Oslo.
"We are thrilled to hear about Yossi Shiloh's most recent award," said Ken Goodman, chairman of the Israel Cancer Research Fund. "Since 2007, we have been supporting his pioneering research on the mechanisms that maintain the survival of human cells and the stability of human genetic material. Recently, we renewed his grant for another seven years (thanks to the Feiss, Greene and Hersh families in New York) so that he can expedite his brilliant investigative work. "
According to the American Association for Cancer Research, the world's largest association for cancer research, which presented Professor Shilo with the prestigious Clowes Award in 2011, "Professor Shiloh is an international leader in his field and an extraordinary scientist. His work has launched a scientific revolution and opened up new horizons in the understanding of how the living cell copes with DNA damage, which is among the main factors in cancer."
The efforts of Israeli cancer researchers have resulted in many significant breakthroughs in recent years. According to Brad Goldhar, ICRF President, "We are extremely proud of our ICRF-funded scientists and the intellectual and innovative research taking place in Israel today. The scientists that we have funded have helped to elucidate the role of the p53 tumor-suppressor gene (present in 50 percent of all human cancer and now the most studied gene in the human genome), develop widely used cancer drugs (Doxil ,Gleevec and Velcade), and new bone marrow transplant techniques.They have enhanced our understanding of BRCA1 and 2 related breast cancer. In the research we fund, all types of cancer are targeted: brain, breast, colon, eye, gastrointestinal, kidney, liver, lung, ovarian and more."
Dr. Avram Hershko and his protégée, Dr. Aaron Ciechanover, both Israel Cancer Research Professors, were awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize for their discovery of the Ubiquitin System, the body's method of removing damaged proteins. Their work led directly to the development of Velcade, an anticancer drug used to treat multiple myeloma and lymphoma.
The Israel Cancer Research Fund is the largest organization in North America devoted solely to supporting cancer research in Israel. Founded in 1975 by a group of American and Canadian researchers, oncologists, and lay people, ICRF has provided more than 2,000 grants totaling more than $50 million to outstanding scientists who work at all of the leading research institutions in Israel .
Major accomplishments of ICRF grantees include:
- Velcade - a drug used to treat multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, was developed based on the research of ICRF Professors and Nobel Prize winners, Drs. Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology
- Gleevec - the first drug to directly target cancer cells, was developed based on the research work of ICRF awardee, Dr. Eli Canaani, Weizmann Institute of Science
- Doxil - the first drug encapsulated in a liposome (or microscopic fat bubble) for direct delivery to a tumor site, was developed by ICRF awardee, Dr. Alberto Gabizon, Shaare Zedek Medical Center
- The p53 Gene - originally thought to cause cancer, was correctly identified as a tumor suppressor, and its role in the majority of human cancers further elucidated by ICRF awardees, Drs. Moshe Oren and Varda Rotter, Weizmann Institute of Science
- DNA Methylation - is a molecular process that turns genes on and off. Pioneering work in this area was performed by ICRF Professor and Israel Prize winner, Dr. Howard Cedar, Hebrew University/Hadassah Medical School
- 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 awardee Dr. Ephrat Levy-Lahad, Shaare Zedek Medical Center
- A Novel Bone Marrow Transplant Technique - to greatly expand the donor pool for leukemia treatment, was developed by ICRF awardee, Dr. Yair Reisner, Weizmann Institute of Science
SOURCE The Israel Cancer Research Fund