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Van Andel Institute conducting cancer research in Asia

02/22/2007

The Van Andel Research Institute will soon be conducting cancer research in Southeast Asia. It’s being called a ground breaking agreement.

The $1.2 million, 3 year deal is funded by the National Cancer Center in Singapore. Scientists would study types of cancer that seem to be more prevalent among certain ethnic groups.

The study will compare cancer in Caucasian patients verses cancer in Asian patients. For example, prostate cancer is more prevalent among white people. Liver cancer seems be more prevalent among Asians.

WZZM 13 News got a glimpse inside the Van Andel Research Institute, where doctors say they are making progress every day, in the fight against cancer.

Dr. Bin Teh is one of the lead scientists who specialize in kidney cancer. For Teh, it’s a job and a passion. Ever since his dad died from cancer at the age of 40, he’s been trying to learn as much as he can about the disease. As he stands in his lab, he watches some of his team members as they study samples from a cancerous tumor. Dr. Tey says, "You can tell if this patient is going to do well or if this patient will do poorly or if he or she is going to die in three years."

It’s this type of research that caught the eye of scientists in Southeast Asia. It lead to a million dollar agreement funded by government of Singapore, to study cancer among Asians and non-Asians.

Dr. Teh says, "So, they want us to have a presence there and study together some of the patients over there."

Researchers know that certain types of cancer are more prevalent among Asians....like liver and stomach cancer and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Prostate cancer is more prevalent among non-Asian patients. Dr. Teh says, "We think that it is probably related to genetic make up and diet and the environment."

The study will last for 3 years. Dr. Teh says they hope learn more about how drugs affect the two ethnic groups and hopefully come up with better treatments for cancer.

 

Source: WZZM13.com, Sarah Sell

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