Cancer Care Northwest
Young Investigator Grant

Congratulations to Mei Dong, MD, PhD. On behalf of The North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETS) it is a pleasure to announce the selection of Mei Dong, MD, PhD as the recipient of one of the 2010 Young Investigator awards in the amount of $50,000.

Her research proposal, entitled “Role of Hedgehog Pathway in Gastrointestinal Neuroendocrine Tumorigenesis" is focusing on the well-known premise that a significant amount of patients with NETs may have harbored the slow-growing lesions since a very young age, which suggests it could result from alterations of pathways involved in development. Hedgehog (Hh) signaling has been found to be important in embryonic patterning, stem cell maintenance and tissue repair; and is normally silenced in most mature adult tissue. This innovative strategy will investigate this signaling pathway as a target in the tumorigenesis of NETs and their development.

"The goal of the proposed project is to study the role of Hedgehog signaling pathway in neuroendocrine tumorigenesis and its potential as a therapeutic target,” said Dr. Dong.

More broadly, the Young Investigator Award helps address a current shortage of young scientists focused on the investigation of neuroendocrine tumors and is open to investigators at the end of their fellowship or beginning of their faculty appointment.

This award is supported by Ipsen with the goal to improve patient outcomes in NETs. This collaborative partnership and the assistance of Ipsen in funding research will be a critical component of improving the lives of people with carcinoid/NET cancers.

Dr. Dong will be presenting developments from this research project at the NANETS annual meeting in 2011.