CHICAGO — The American Association for Cancer Research will recognize Chinese American Yibin Kang, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular biology in the department of molecular biology at Princeton University and member of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, with the 32nd Annual AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012, held March 31 – April 4.Kang’s lecture, “Decoding tumor-stromal interactions in breast cancer metastasis,” will take place at 4:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday, April 3, in room W196 of McCormick Place West.
“It is a privilege to receive this honor from the American Association for Cancer Research and an honor to be recognized by leaders in the field,” said Kang. “Through continued collaboration with my distinguished colleagues, I am hopeful that we will be able to further elucidate the inner workings of cancer metastasis and apply that knowledge toward the development of targeted therapies.”
Since 1979, the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research has honored an investigator younger than 40 to recognize his or her meritorious achievements within the field of cancer research. Award recipients are nominated by their peers and are selected by the AACR International Selection Committee. Final determination is then made by the AACR’s Executive Committee.
Kang is being recognized for his research in furthering the molecular understanding of cancer metastasis. His research has defined the biological mechanisms that govern the ability of breast cancer cells to migrate and colonize various locations throughout the body. The need to understand this ability of cancer cells to metastasize and form secondary tumors is essential as these events often occur in patients, despite having received cancer treatments.
Through the use of imaging techniques and various mouse models, Kang has discovered that certain tumor proteins are capable of altering the biological activities of various bone cells to faciliate metastasis. One such protein, JAG1 or “Jagged1,” promotes secondary tumor formation by stimulating tumor-promoting cellular responses in bone cells, causing the eventual degradation of the bone tissue. This allows for the establishment of a more suitable environment for metastatic cancer cells to grow. Kang’s goal is to better understand how cancer cells are able to populate areas of the body away from primary cancer locations so that better treatments can be designed to counteract such occurrences.
Kang received his doctorate in genetics from Duke University in Durham, N.C. He conducted postdoctoral work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, N.Y., and joined the faculty of Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., in 2004.
He has published more than 60 novel research articles, and has received numerous awards including the AIMM-ASBMR John Haddad Young Investigator Award and the American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award. He was one of five individuals to receive the prestigious 2006 Department of Defense Era of Hope Scholar Award. Last year, Kang received the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Sciences, a prestigious award honoring young immigrant scientists who have demonstrated exceptional creativity and originality in the early stages of their careers in the United States.