Two City of Hope Researchers Honored by American Cancer Society

December 4, 2017 | by Samantha Bonar

Sunita Patel headshot Sunita Patel, Ph.D.
City of Hope’s Sunita Patel, Ph.D., and Mei Kong, Ph.D., were recently honored by the American Cancer Society with their Giants of Science Hope award at the society’s annual gala in October.

The Giants of Science Hope award is “given to an ACS-funded researcher of great promise who is working in a critical area of cancer research.”

“I was absolutely thrilled and deeply honored to have been selected,” Patel said.

A neuropsychologist, Patel is associate clinical professor in the departments of Population Sciences and Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope. Her research focuses on the risk and protective factors of neurocognitive and behavioral outcomes in cancer patients. She has conducted interdisciplinary projects to identify inflammatory biomarkers of cognitive dysfunction in adult-onset cancer patients, examined functional outcomes into long-term survivorship, and evaluated interventions to improve quality of life and cognitive functioning in children with cancer, particularly among minority and at-risk populations. 

Her research has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society and the California Breast Cancer Research Program.
Kong-Mei Mei Kong, Ph.D.

Cancer researcher Mei Kong is associate professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at City of Hope. Kong’s research into cancer metabolism involves studying how tumors establish and sustain themselves so that scientists can find new and better ways to destroy them, such as increasing tumors’ drug sensitivity and finding means to starve them of nutrients. She was named a 2016 Research Scholar by the American Cancer Society and received the 2015 Stand Up to Cancer Phillip A. Sharp Innovation in Collaboration Award, among many other honors. 

Held at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, California, the second annual Giants of Science Cancer Research Gala honored the accomplishments of leading local cancer researchers. Besides Patel and Kong, the American Cancer Society honored four other researchers from UCLA, Caltech and UC San Diego — all current American Cancer Society research grant recipients whose work was selected by a national committee for commendation.

The American Cancer Society is the nation’s largest not-for-profit investor in cancer research, second only to the federal government. Since 1946, it has funded more than $4.3 billion in cancer research. Nationally, the society currently funds 732 grants for more than $390 million, 95 of those — totaling almost $48 million — in California, including almost $21 million at five Los Angeles County institutions.

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