August 28, 2012
University of Hawaii Cancer Center Announces Recipients of Weinman Innovator Award
$50,000 will help fund translational cancer research
HONOLULU â The University of Hawaiâi Cancer Center has awarded researchers Sandi Kwee, MD, Maarit Tiirikainen, PhD, Linda Wong, MD, and Min-Ae Song, MS the 2012 Weinman Innovator Award for translational research. Their proposal âLiver Cancer Detection Using Tumor DNA Isolated from the Bloodâ was selected from five other proposals.
The team will use this award to isolate and characterize free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) from the bloodstream of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer. These efforts could lead to new methods for diagnosing HCC, as well as enhance strategies for customizing treatments based on the individual genetics of a patientâs tumor.
âOur team is truly grateful to the Weinman Foundation for supporting efforts to translate cancer research into cancer care,â said Sandi Kwee.
Kwee is an assistant professor with the Centerâs Cancer Biology Program and the John A. Burns School of Medicineâs Internal Medicine program. He is also the director of Positron Emission Tomography research at The Queenâs Medical Center. Dr. Wong is a liver transplant and hepatobiliary surgeon, an associate professor with the Centerâs Cancer Biology Program and a clinical professor of surgery with the John A. Burns School of Medicine. Tiirikainen is the faculty director of the Cancer Centerâs Genomics Shared Resources where she oversees Research Analyst Song who is also a graduate student in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering.
The Weinman Innovator Award is presented annually and is a vital piece of philanthropic support that promotes and rewards excellence in translational research among the Cancer Centerâs faculty and staff. The award is funded through a $1.7 million Weinman Foundation Fund for Innovation endowment provided by Virginia and Barry Weinman to support the development of innovative diagnostic as well as therapeutic approaches to curing cancer.