In the last hour, an estimated 192 people were diagnosed with cancer in the United States and every minute, someone dies from cancer in our country. At present, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in the United States will receive a cancer diagnosis, and over 15 million Americans are living with the disease.

Innovative research is leading to breakthroughs in medicines, therapies, devices, and technologies which will define the future of healthcare. There will be new treatments capable of curing a myriad of illnesses, thus helping people to live longer, with less pain. Through careful investing, countless lives can be profoundly improved.

ICV is pleased to present the ICV Group Cancer Impact Grants to invest in breakthroughs at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (HDFCCC), as part of The Cancer Breakthroughs Fund.


PartnershipsIn a public-private partnership between ICV and UCSF, a model that has never been done before in health sciences, we are putting people with capital on the front lines to wipe out some of the world’s deadliest diseases. ICV will provide full transparency and impact reporting. Every quarter, ICV and select donors will sit with the UCSF research team to review progress in real-time.

Decoding life to improve health. Leveraging discovery to revolutionize care. Partnering to achieve health equity.

Join us as we empower researchers in this fight.


“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

 – Thomas Edison


University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise. It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises two top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, and other partner and affiliated hospitals and healthcare providers throughout the Bay Area.

The UCSF Parnassus campus, home to a network of comprehensive cancer patient care services as well as the site of basic and clinical research



The UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center prides itself on tackling cancer through collaboration in both research and clinical care. Their faculty investigators in laboratory-, clinical-, and population-based research have advanced our understanding of cancer for the benefit of patients worldwide. Their cancer enterprise has grown exponentially in scope and focus and has allowed us to improve care for those individuals and families impacted by this disease.

USCF is the No. 1 recipient of National Cancer Institute (NCI) research funding in California and the longest-running NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Bay Area. U.S. News & World Report ranks us No. 1 for cancer care in California and No. 10 nationally. Elsevier ranks us No. 1 in the Western US for cancer research and No. 5 in the world.


HDFCCC scientist pursuing improved treatments for cancer patients. Photo credit: Steve Babuljak

It is through the support of our generous donors, volunteers, and grateful patients that we are able to bring cancer care, discovery, and innovation to new heights.

Since 2016, the HDFCCC Impact Grants have encouraged UCSF researchers to think bigger and develop bold, new approaches to cancer research. This program spurs our investigators to propose projects considered “high risk” yet capable of great impact, as opposed to conventional, incremental research, which might appeal to more traditional funding sources.
Eleni Linos, MD, MPH, DrPH, assistant professor of Dermatology and 2017 Impact Grant Award Winner, whose project examined if social media can influence women not to use harmful indoor tanning bed.
In partnership with the ICV Group Cancer Breakthroughs Fund, we will grow our Impact Grants program and fuel the research of HDFCCC’s most promising and innovative physician-scientists. Each quarter, Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS – President, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and E. Dixon Heise Distinguished Professor in Oncology— and the HDFCCC review panel, will select one Impact Grant winner. All ICV members will be kept abreast of the latest findings and breakthroughs made possible by the Fund and the projects of the grant recipients.
Maria Wei, MD, PhD, 2017 Impact Grant Award winner, with Michael Keiser, PhD (left), and Robert Judson, PhD, who are working together on melanoma screening and diagnosis

Examples of previously funded research include:

  • Harnessing artificial intelligence and molecular diagnostics for rapid and accurate melanoma screening and diagnosis
  • Understanding how fat molecules can signal a cell to cause cancer.
  • Using social media to affect cancer risk behaviors and prevent melanoma.
  • Exploring the connection between cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection during pregnancy and the risk of a child developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)

These projects exemplify the high-risk, high-reward research the Impact Grants are intended to nurture. The funding they received helped lay the groundwork for faculty members to compete for funding from more traditional sources such as the NIH.

Competitive Selection Process

For each funding cycle, Dr. Alan Ashworth invites proposals for novel, impactful studies to address a key problem in cancer. Anyone in the UCSF community across campuses – including faculty, researchers, and students – is encouraged to apply.
Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, President of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Photo credit: Steve Babuljak
The finalists for Impact Grants are then invited to pitch their ideas in a 20-slide, 5-minute public presentation with Q&A. No lengthy supporting or preliminary data is required and any research area relevant to cancer will be considered. Donors are welcome to attend the pitch sessions.

The review panel, which remains anonymous in the audience, embraces risk and innovation by funding studies that can make a genuine impact on improving patient outcomes. The panel will convene directly following the pitch session in order to make a final decision.

A Transformational Investment: The ICV Group Cancer Impact Grants
  • $2,000,000 will be allotted per year for the next five years to fund eight $250,000 Impact Grant Awards per year by Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, and the HDFCCC review panel.
  • The mission of this initiative is to fund the researchers that may eventually turn cancer into a manageable chronic disease.
  • Multiple touch points and exclusive access shall be provided throughout the year to the HDFCCC research team.
  • Donors will receive transparent, impact reporting.
  • Donors will connect directly with the researchers and receive written and in person updates on research advances.

We are grateful for your partnership and commitment to the collaborative and groundbreaking work of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Philanthropy: Love of Humankind

At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, we will ask ourselves whether we could have done more for the health and well-being of the planet, of humanity and all living things. Leverage your charitable giving to create systemic change with ICV’s Catalytic Philanthropy.

As a tax-exempt public charity as defined by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Sections 501(c)(3), ICV Group, Inc. is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions under IRC Section 170 and is qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under Section 2055, 2106 or 2522 (EIN: 82-2698363).


“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: You haven’t.”

 – Thomas Edison