22 U A B C O M P R E H E N S I V E C A N C E R C E N T E R

KARINA YOON, PH.D., assistant profes- sor in the Department

of Pharmacology and

Toxicology and asso-

ciate scientist in the

Cancer Cell Biology

Program of the Cancer

Center, has recently

been awarded a $40,000 Young Investigator

Grant from the Cancer Center’s Young

Supporters Board.

The award, supported by the board’s fundrais-

ing events, was established to jump-start the

research of young scientists, who frequently have

limited funding opportunities. Dr. Yoon plans to

use this grant to investigate the biological pro-

cesses that control the spread of neuroblastoma,

specifically focusing on the protein ICAM-2.

Neuroblastoma is one of the most common

cancers in children, usually occurring in infants

and children under the age of five. Children with

high-risk metastatic neuroblastoma face a surviv-

al rate of only 20 to 40 percent. Although current

treatments can stabilize the disease temporarily,

nearly all children who relapse develop additional

tumors that do not respond to treatment. Dr.

Yoon’s long-range goal is to design therapies that

induce long-lasting—rather than transient—clin-

ical responses.

The Young Supporters Board established the

Young Investigator Grants for young scientists

who have been at the Cancer Center for less

than five years. The board has raised more than

$229,000 over the past few years to contribute

to these efforts. Dr. Yoon is the third scientist to

receive one of the grants.

l quick takes RESEARCH BRIEFS

Yoon Receives Young Investigator Award

Frost Awarded $600,000 Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grant

UAB RESEARCHER Andra Frost, M.D., associate professor in the UAB

Department of Pathology and scien-

tist in the Experimental Therapeutics

Program of the UAB Comprehensive

Cancer Center, has been awarded

a $600,000 grant from Susan G.

Komen for the Cure to study the role

of the oncogene Gil 1 in the metastasis

of triple-negative breast cancer, an

especially aggressive subtype of the


Oncogenes are genes with the

potential to cause cancer and often are

mutated or expressed at high levels in

tumor cells. Gil 1 is known to regulate

the presence of a variety of molecules

that are important for cancer develop-

ment, growth and metastasis. While

it has been studied largely in skin and

brain cancers, its role in breast cancer

is less established.

Dr. Frost hopes to understand how

Gil 1 promotes the metastasis of tri-

ple-negative breast cancer. “We want

to show that inhibiting the function

of Gil 1 will slow or stop the growth

and metastasis of triple-negative breast

cancer,” she says.