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Press Release - April 18, 2016

COACHELLA VALLEY CHAPTER OF ISRAEL CANCER RESEARCH FUN
COLLABORATES WITH EISENHOWER MEDICAL CENTER AND DESERT AIDS PROJECT
KEYNOTE SPEAKER Dr. RAN TAUBE DISCUSSES:
A JOURNEY FROM AIDS TO CANCER

For Immediate Release . . .April 18, 2016 . . . Rancho Mirage, Ca. -- The Coachella Valley Chapter of Internationally-renowned ISRAEL CANCER RESEARCH FUND hosted a collaborative luncheon and Scientific Presentation at the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences on the campus of Eisenhower Medical Center today.

Close to 100 guests were greeted by Event Co-chairs, Patrick Mundt and Dr. Jeralyn Brossfield, at this luncheon jointly hosted by Israel Cancer Research Fund, Eisenhower Medical Center, and Desert AIDS Project.  Guests listened attentively as keynote speaker Dr. Ran Taube, an Israel Cancer Research Fund scientist from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, presented his findings on the common pathways that occur in what we thought were very different diseases, HIV and Leukemia.   Dr. Taube’s research and findings have the
potential to revolutionize our understanding of these diseases and the options for treatment.

Born in Israel, Dr. Taube began his career at Tel Aviv University, where he received a B.Sc. in Biology, an M.Sc. in Microbiology & Biotechnology, and his PhD studies on the molecular biology of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).  Dr. Taube has had a long-term interest in how human pathogens develop unique strategies to infect their target cells.   Specifically, he attempts to understand the interactions between the virus and its host at the level of viral mRNA synthesis – or transcription.  In addition, Dr. Taube studies the mechanisms that drive HIV into gene silencing.  This is a major obstacle for the eradication of HIV, as current drugs cannot cure viral infection. 

Similar mechanisms and protein complexes that support HIV transcription are also key regulators of Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL), an aggressive hematological malignancy, occurring mainly in infants.  Transcriptional complexes that play a role in promoting MLL can serve as targets for treating MLL and developing strategies that will suppress the progression of the disease.

Dr. Taube has been studying an important aspect of AIDS, namely why the HIV virus is not completely eliminated after therapies and that treated individuals are still infectious.  He has found that residual viruses, that were not eliminated, are stored in a dormant state, though they can awake at any time, multiply and infect new normal cells. He has discovered the mechanism by which the AIDS virus remains silent and demonstrated that it is being contributed to by both normal and viral proteins.  By comparison, those findings were fundamental in our understanding how the infants’ MLL progresses, as he and his collaborators have discovered, that the mechanisms found in HIV were also identical and are involved in MLL.  These breakthrough findings have opened a new door to identify new therapeutic targets that allow the development of new and effective drugs for the early diagnosis and treatment of MLL. 

Dr. Taube’s findings, in collaboration with Dr. Uri Rubio, and his insight in linking AIDS research with MLL are unparalleled. 

New to the over 800 non-profit organizations in the Coachella Valley, Israel Cancer Research Fund, the recipient of Charity Navigator’s highest 4-star rating, is advancing cancer research and treatments that have been pivotal in saving lives.   In the past 41 years since its founding, Israel Cancer Research Fund scientists have made major breakthroughs in important cancer research, and today this organization has the knowledge that there is indeed HOPE.    The accomplishments of the scientists ICRF has supported have been many, and thousands of patients treated with drugs that have resulted from their research are alive today all over the world as a result. 

Some of the amazing breakthroughs that Israel Cancer Research Fund-supported scientists have researched to fight cancer include Velcade, Gleevec, Doxil, the p53 Gene, DNA Methylation, the RAD51 Gene, and a novel Bone Marrow Transplant technique.  ICRF research areas include anticancer vaccines, bone marrow transplantation, brain tumors, breast cancer, colon cancer, eye cancer, immunotherapy, kidney cancer, pediatric cancer, programmed cell death (Apoptosis), prostate cancer, radiation therapy, skin cancer, tumor blood vessel growth (Angiogenesis), tumor metastases, tumor suppressor genes, and tumor viruses.

“Israel Cancer Research Fund last year expanded into the Coachella Valley because cancer affects us all,” stated Board President of the ICRF Coachella Valley Chapter, Patrick Mundt.  “The more funds we raise here in the Valley the more cancer research we can conduct in Israel, for the benefit of all mankind,” Mundt continued.

Israel Cancer Research Fund is one of the largest sources of private funds for innovative cancer research in Israel.  Funds raised by ICRF have contributed more than $56 million for over 2200 grants involving all major hospitals, universities, and cancer research projects throughout Israel.  ICRF’s mission is to continue to find treatments and cures for all forms of cancer, utilizing the unique benefits Israel and its scientists have to offer.  The results of Israeli scientists’ outstanding research have made a significant impact in Southern California, across the United States, and throughout the world.

For more information on Israel Cancer Research Fund please call 760-548-0802 or 818-986-2100 or visit www.icrfla.org   

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