Yibin Kang, Ph.D., the Warner-Lambert/Parke Davis Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University and the associate director for Consortium Research of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, has been awarded an American Cancer Society Research Professorship, receiving a lifelong designation accompanied by a five-year $400,000 commitment.
Kang’s research focuses on the molecular mechanisms driving breast cancer metastasis, in particular exploring how the body’s connective tissue cells, or stromal cells, provide cellular “niches” that allow cancer cells to metastasize. The new grant will build on the team’s study of tumor-stromal interactions in breast cancer bone metastasis and is expected to have important implications in improving the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
Researchers are selected for American Cancer Society (ACS) professorships based on their history of pioneering, influential work that’s continuing to change the direction of cancer research and on their track record of mentoring people who have become successful in cancer research.
“Research remains at the heart of our mission,” said Arnold Baskies, MD, American Cancer Society past chairman of the National Board of Directors. “Dr. Kang’s research specifically focused on metastasis is crucial to find answers into new or improved treatments and therapies.”
As of Jan. 1, 2019, there were more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer living in the United States, according to the ACS. This estimate includes more than 150,000 women living with metastatic disease, three-quarters of whom were originally diagnosed with stage I, II or III breast cancer.
“Laboratory research and clinical experience have repeatedly highlighted the importance of the stromal cells in the development and treatment response of metastatic cancers,” said Kang. “Our research focuses on identifying the key components and molecular interactions that are critical for breast cancer metastasis. Our findings will facilitate the development of novel therapeutics to reduce the risk of metastatic recurrence or improve the survival of patients with metastatic diseases.”
“This lifetime recognition by the American Cancer Society of Yibin Kang’s outstanding research accomplishments highlights the importance of the ongoing collaboration between researchers such as Dr. Kang, who studies the fundamental mechanisms behind cancer, and the translational researchers and clinicians at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey,” said Princeton University Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti. “The support from ACS is an important contribution to collaborative research with the potential to have tremendous impact on the prevention and treatment of this disease.”
“Rutgers Cancer Institute and Princeton University, our National Cancer Institute-approved research consortium partner, have worked collaboratively for many years to address the cancer burden,” noted Eileen White, Ph.D., deputy director, chief scientific officer and associate director for basic research at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. As a result of this partnership and Dr. Kang’s leadership of this consortium, essential scientific discoveries in the areas of cancer metabolism, metastasis and genomics have been translated into clinical application.”
Kang’s award is one of three new Research Professorships — the program’s prestigious research grants — announced by the ACS, which is the largest private, nonprofit source of cancer research funds in the United States. Kang was a recipient of the ACS Research Scholar Award in 2005.