ISRAEL CANCER RESEARCH FUND
Helping Scientists Discover
Drugs To Fight Cancer
was Benjamin Brafmanís 11th year emceeing the
annual Tower of Hope gala of the Israel Cancer Research Fund at
the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York, and he continued his
time honored routine of starting off with witty banter.
The prominent criminal defense lawyer
was introduced as someone you should never know professionally.
Indeed, he had just come from court
where he represented his latest client: New York State Senator
Carl Kruger of Brooklyn whom the feds charged with
running a bribery racket for taking $1 million in return for
When Brafman entered the ballroom a
woman gushed, "I saw you on TV today. You look much better on
She took out a camera, but the lawyer
cautioned, "Trust me, you donít want to take a picture with me.
Iím like malach hamoves [angel of death]."
Brafman related that an oncologist
told him, "We both have something in common."
"Nobody is eager to meet either of
Brafman demurred. "No, weíre
different. When you lose a patient he dies. When I lose a
client, I get letters for 25 years."
Kenneth E. Goodman, ICRF chairman,
reported that in its 36 years the organization raised $40
million, enabling 1800 research grants to support Israeli
scientists. That resulted in the discovery of important cancer
fighting drugs such as Doxil and Velcade, among others, that are
"saving thousands of live each year."
Brafman added, "There are people
living more productive lives because of medications our
scientists have discovered."
ICRF also aided the early work of
Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover who ultimately
became Israelís first Nobel Prize winners in science.
ICRF honored Dr. Daniel F. Roses,
professor of oncology at New York University School of Medicine
and director of surgical oncology at NYU Langone Medical Center;
Helene Miller, who with her late husband, Dr. Daniel
G. Miller, founded the ICRF; Dr. Rabbi Elie Abadie, a
gastroenterologist in Brooklyn and founding rabbi of the Edmond
J. Safra Synagogue in Manhattan, and Andrew Faas,
recently retired as executive vice president of Shoppers Drug
Mart, Canadaís largest drug chain.
"If not for Israelís researchers
supported by ICRF Iíd be dead," Faas related. "I now live a full
life except I canít have grapefruit, which is okay as I never
liked it anyway."
Faas said that ICRF doctors told him
that chemotherapy and radiation will soon become a thing of the
past. He added that in a few years treatment for most forms of
cancer will be targeted directly to the cancer cells without
harming the healthier cells.