Cutting Edge Research

by Josh Kerr | Sep 22, 2023

Endowment supports renowned Israeli researcher

All philanthropists, no matter the scale of their work, have their own goals. They can be far-reaching or help people in their communities, they can have long-term impacts, or they can help to get through the day. The common thread throughout is the desire to give back to their communities. For JFM donors, this is no different. 

One of the furthest-reaching impacts comes from a donor-advised fund (A Son’s Tribute to Berdie z’l and Irvin z’l Cohen,’ a BERVIN Fund) which distributes all the way to Israel, specifically Tel-Aviv University and the Natalia Freund Laboratory for Human Antibody Responses.   

On a recent trip to visit some JFM-funded projects in Israel, CEO John Diamond was able to spend an afternoon at Dr. Freund’s lab, learning about the work she and her team currently do and how it will impact the entire world going forward. 

Dr. Freund’s team is doing work with B-Cell antibodies, essentially attempting to isolate what is called the anti-SARS Co-V-2 and, in doing so, generate new ways to treat and prevent COVID-19. 

“Now more than ever, the medical community realizes that COVID-19 is here to stay, and vaccines on their own will not be able to stop SARS-CoV-2 virus,” says Dr. Freund. “We need to provide effective therapy, especially for those at risk of developing a severe disease, and it is at that point that monoclonal antibodies can be the answer.”

These efforts, supported by the distributions from this donor-advised (BERVIN) fund halfway across the world at the JFM, are taking real-time issues like COVID-19 and looking to prevent them from impacting our world.

“Thanks to the generosity of this donor, my laboratory isolated nine new neutralizing antibodies from infected patients. Some of these antibodies are active against all the known strains of SARS-CoV-2, and these can be excellent candidates for treatment.”

She explains that when the pandemic struck, they needed funding fast. Applying for grants is how science usually gets funded, but the caveat is that it takes time, and sometimes months pass until the money reaches the laboratory and they can start the work. 

“With the donation we received from A Son’s Tribute to Berdie z’l and Irvin z’l Cohen, we were able to isolate new antibodies from patients that worked immediately while carrying out high-quality research. Beyond the neutralizing antibodies we produced, we also learned a lot about the interaction between the virus and immune response. Therefore, we generated knowledge and understanding of the new disease.”

Once your fund at the JFM reaches $10,000 in contributions, it becomes donor-advised, and you can directly choose where its annual distributions will go. Distributions from these funds have immediate and fulfilling impacts on important causes to you, the donor.