PHILADELPHIA (March 10, 2023)—Dong “Jake” Kim, MD, a second-year hematology/oncology fellow at Fox Chase Cancer Center, recently received a 2023 Conquer Cancer Merit Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for research that he presented at a recent meeting.
“Receiving this award means a lot to me because attending the meeting was a really great learning experience, and I think learning to collaborate with others is a really fundamental part of training,” said Kim. “It gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of colleagues across the country and internationally.”
Kim received the award for his research into how specific mutations may or may not affect the development of colorectal cancer. He conducted the research as part of his hematology/oncology fellowship under the direction of Michael Hall, MD, MS, chair of the Department of Clinical Genetics at Fox Chase.
“There are certain genetic mutations that we are concerned about and believe may lead to a predisposition to cancer. There are two very common ones in the genes called MUTYH and APC, so when we see these mutations it is unclear what to do with them,” said Kim.
He added that because data has been limited or mixed on the effects of these mutations in the development of colorectal cancer it has been difficult to develop specialized screening recommendations. To investigate this, Kim and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of over 13,000 patient samples submitted for next-generation sequencing of DNA and RNA.
“One of the things we tried to do is look at patients with these mutations who also had colorectal cancer and find out whether their colorectal cancer looked different in some way from those without the mutations. The idea is that if it does look different, it points to the fact that patients with these mutations who haven’t developed cancer yet may be at higher risk,” he said.
The study concluded that the status of the original carrier of MUTYH and APC may positively impact the course of disease in patients with these mutations and colorectal cancer. Kim said further investigation into these biomarkers is warranted.
Conquer Cancer Merit Awards are presented to researchers who are first authors on high-quality abstracts submitted at an ASCO Meeting. These abstracts are recognized for their scientific merit and award recipients receive $1,000 in support. Kim presented his abstract, “Characterizing Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Carriers of the Recessive MUTYH Founders (G396D/Y179C) and the Low-Penetrance APC Founder APC-I1307K Mutation,” in a poster session at the ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium in January.