Research of Former Foundation Grantee James Yao Highlighted at the GI Cancers Symposium

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A study led by James C. Yao, MD, Assistant Professor and Deputy Chair of Gastrointestinal Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, was presented at the 2012 Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancers Symposium in San Francisco and highlighted in the meeting’s press program. In the study, Dr. Yao’s research team identified certain factors that predict whether an advanced neuroendocrine tumor will worsen, and based on these factors found that the drug everolimus (Afinitor) combined with octreotide may be a more effective treatment than previously thought.

Dr. Yao received a 2003 Career Development Award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation. The award provides funding to faculty-appointed investigators to establish an independent clinical cancer research program with a patient-oriented focus. Dr. Yao’s earlier research also focused on neuroendocrine tumors, as he received the award to study angiogenesis and antiangiogenic therapy in carcinoid tumors, which are of neuroendocrine origin.

Greatly Needed Support

Dr. Yao notes that the Career Development Award helped lay the foundation for his work in this field. “My early work in carcinoid tumors is directly related to the neuroendocrine research I presented at the GI Cancers Symposium, as they focus on the same disease area,” said Dr. Yao. “We published several papers from that early study, and research is ongoing.”

In addition, Dr. Yao credits the award for providing support during a time when it was greatly needed. “Early in my formative years, the Career Development Award really gave me the confidence to pursue science and work in what is considered an orphan disease,” he said. “There was not much other support to pursue research projects in neuroendocrine tumors. Awards like this really help retain people to work in areas where there is unmet need and otherwise not much funding available.”

Learn more about the Career Development Award at or visit Cancer.Net ( for a summary of the study findings. ■

© 2012. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.




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