Jih-Hsiang Lee grew up in Tainan, Taiwan, one of the country’s largest cities. After finishing his residency at National Taiwan University Hospital, he became a visiting fellow at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland. Dr. Lee is now an attending physician and clinical trial researcher at National Taiwan University Hospital. You might say the medical oncologist has literally been around the globe to pursue his profession.
Lee is now trying to find a new way to diagnose lung cancer patients. As he explains, it is difficult and harmful to obtain large amounts of tumor tissue from patients with advanced lung cancer. However, it's safe to obtain blood samples. By using a technique called next generation sequencing (NGS), Lee hopes to find potential cancer biomarkers in the blood samples.
“If my research achieves good result, lung cancer patients may not have to receive multiple invasive interventions for diagnosis or for follow-up of treatment effect,” he says.
As a recipient of one of the 2012 International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Young Investigator Awards, Lee will receive $40,000 for two years. Lee and three other candidates representing North America, Asia and Europe, were awarded research funding for two years after competing with a global pool of applicants.
Applications were evaluated by an international scientific review panel for their merit, innovation and potential impact on the management of lung cancer. The goal for IASLC is to reward scientific excellence and to encourage innovative research in lung cancer prevention and translational medicine worldwide.
He says that grants like these allow researchers in developing countries to find their way.
“Oncology is an emerging medical specialty in East Asia,” Lee says. “The IASLC provides me an opportunity to know many experts in lung cancer in the world,”
Lee’s colleagues and mentors call him clever and hard-working. Dr. Giuseppe Giaccone, chief of Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute, worked with Lee for three years on Giaccone’s thoracic oncology research team.
“He has an excellent background in lung cancer research, including molecular biology, signal transduction, drug development and clinical trials,” Giaccone says. “I have found him to be a smart and ambitious researcher.”
To learn more about the IASLC, the Young Investigator Program and its funding sources, and to follow Dr. Lee’s progress, please visit www.iaslc.org/about-iaslc/fellowship-guidelines/.