Friday, June 13, 2014
ACS Researcher Making a Difference
This is my article as published in the June 12, 2014 issue of The Mena Star.
AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY RESEARCHER MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN LIVES, THE FUTURE
Dr. Yibin Kang, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. He has been recognized by the American Association for Cancer Research with its Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research.
This award honors a researcher younger than 40 for meritorious achievements in the field of cancer research. Dr. Kang’s research was funded by an American Cancer Society grant made possible by donations to Relay For Life. He was recognized by AACR for his research in furthering the molecular understanding of cancer metastasis – which is when cancer spreads from the part of the body where it started to other parts of the body. His research has defined the mechanisms governing the ability of breast cancer cells to migrate and colonize various locations throughout the body.
Nearly 90% of cancer mortality is due to tumor cells metastasizing in surrounding tissue, yet until recently this area of study was underdeveloped. Dr. Kang has discovered that certain tumor proteins are capable of altering the biological activities of various bone cells to facilitate metastasis.
Dr. Kang’s lab has identified specific pathways that usher tumor cells to the surrounding tissue, causing metastasis. Identifying these pathways is critical, as pharmaceutical inhibitors have proven effective in blockading the procession of tumor cells, greatly reducing the potential for cancer metastasizing in vital organs.
The American Cancer Society is currently funding over 800 different research projects covering over 50 different types of cancer. The American Cancer Society has been conducting and funding cancer research since 1946. In that time, the Society has spent more than $4 billion on cancer research.
Forty seven of the researchers the American Cancer Society has funded went on to win the Nobel Prize. More than 80% of the directors of National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers are former American Cancer Society grantees. It is money raised by Relay For Life volunteers here in Polk County along with those on over 5,200 other communities in the U.S. that fund this important research.