Each year, the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research provides research grants to the nation's most promising young cancer researchers. Among the distinguished recipients of this award for 2011 is Eddy Yang, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the UAB Department of Radiation Oncology and the study’s principal investigator. Starting on July 2011, the $100,000 award (per year) will fund Dr. Yang’s head & neck cancer research study for the next 2 years.
Dr. Yang says this grant will fund research of a novel therapeutic strategy to improve outcomes and enhance quality of life for head and neck cancer patients. The strategy involves the use of 2 targeted therapies with very favorable side effect profiles that, when combined, can induce a synthetic lethality in head and neck cancer cells. It does this by exploiting DNA repair pathways in cancer cells. The study will also investigate the biomarkers which predict susceptibility for this combination. This is a step towards personalized treatment for head and neck cancer patients. Additionally, this research will improve the understanding of cancer biology in hopes to discover new molecules to target future potential therapies.