SWCRF scientists win international joint grant for AML research from Israel and China.

Shai Izraeli, M.D. Sai-Juan Chen, M.D., Ph.D.
Tel Aviv University      Shanghai Institute of Hematology










The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation’s philosophy of collaboration among scientists across cancer research institutes has aided two renowned research teams from Israel and China in securing a major grant for a joint project examining the roles of two proteins in the onset of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Shai Izraeli, M.D., Sheba Medical Center at Tel Aviv University, and Sai-Juan Chen, M.D., Ph.D., the Shanghai of Hematology, both longtime funded SWCRF researchers, will serve as principal investigators in new research coordinated through a partnership between the Natural Science Foundation of China and the Israel Science Foundation and funded by the Chinese and Israeli governments. The grant, approved last December, was submitted to the partnered foundations after Dr. Izraeli consulted about it with SWCRF founder and CEO Samuel Waxman, M.D., who recommended he and Dr. Chen combine resources on their compatible work.

“This is exciting news for AML research because this grant augments the brain trust of two renowned centers for cancer investigation and demonstrates how the Waxman Foundation facilitates opportunities to advance research through networking and scientific exchange,” said Dr. Waxman. “We’re very proud of Drs. Izraeli and Chen and look forward to seeing how their project progresses.”

The study leverages the expertise of the Tel Aviv team led by Dr. Izraeli in the area of ERG, a gene that can cause cancer, and investigators working under Dr. Chen in Shanghai who are recognized for their work relating to GATA2, a regulator of gene expression in cells that self-renew. Working together, the researchers aim to better understand the dynamics of these transcription factors in the formation of AML, a blood cancer characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells. AML is the most common acute leukemia affecting adults, and its incidence increases with age.

About the Researchers:

Shai Izraeli, M.D., is Head of Functional Genomics and Childhood Leukemia and Cancer Research at Tel Aviv University, a member of the Department of Pediatric Hemato-Oncology at the Sheba Medical Center and the Giorgio and Dora Shapiro Professor of Hematological Malignancies at Sackler Medical School and the Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry department at Tel Aviv University. Dr. Izraeli has a major research interest in the molecular biology of childhood leukemia and has authored more than 130 peer-reviewed publications.

To learn more about Dr. Izraeli's SWCRF-funded work at Tel Aviv University, click here.


Sai-Juan Chen, M.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Shanghai Institute of Hematology (SIH) and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. The SIH’s research centers on solving the key scientific problems in life and medical sciences, and integrating the latest scientific achievements of genomics into medical practice. With malignant cancers such as leukemia as the subjects for study, the SIH focuses on the localization and identification of disease-related genes and the characterization of the regulatory pathways and network of their protein products.

To learn more about Dr. Chen's SWCRF-funded work at the SIH, click here.