Stand Up To Cancer has awarded City of Hope researcher Mei Kong, Ph.D., a three-year, $750,000 grant to discover how cancer cells survive and thrive in difficult conditions.
Kong, assistant professor in the Division of Tumor Cell Biology, is one of 13 grant recipients chosen in early April to receive a combined total of $9.74 million to conduct unique translational cancer research.
|Mei Kong’s innovative work has gained significant support. (Photo by p.cunningham)|
“The Stand Up To Cancer Innovative Research Grants are special in that they allow some of the best and brightest young researchers across various disciplines to step out of their comfort zones and attempt to make major breakthroughs in the field with bold research projects,” said Richard D. Kolodner, Ph.D., committee chair for the Stand Up To Cancer Innovative Research Grants Program.
Kong’s research explores why fast-growing cancer cells continue to thrive even after they have used up nearly all the nutrients in their environment. A broad range of cancer cells are able to divide and grow out of control by developing gene mutations that enable them to acquire more nutrients than normal cells from the tissue surrounding them.
“Cancer cells face two distinct metabolic challenges: how to acquire nutrients to support their growth and how to survive temporary periods when supply is low,” Kong said. By understanding the mechanisms tumors use to overcome these obstacles, she hopes scientists can develop new drugs to potentially starve cells to death and stop cancer.
The nonprofit Stand Up To Cancer was formed in 2008 by entertainment industry leaders to increase awareness and public involvement in finding new models of cancer research. The Stand Up To Cancer Scientific Advisory Committee and the American Association for Cancer Research administer grant money to fund groundbreaking cancer researchers they believe challenge existing ideas and have high potential to save lives by getting new therapies to patients quickly.
For more information about Stand Up To Cancer, visit www.su2c.org.