Jen Jen Yeh, MD, a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and an associate professor of surgery and pharmacology in the UNC School of Medicine, has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation.
The honor society for physician-scientists has more than 3,000 members who are in the upper ranks of academic medicine and industry.
New members were formally inducted at a dinner and induction ceremony held Friday, April 24, as part of the joint meeting of ASCI and the Association of American Physicians (AAP) in Chicago. Yeh was one 75 new members chosen from 188 nominations for for membership in 2015.
Yeh joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine first as an assistant professor in 2005. She received her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and completed her internship and residency in general surgery at the Boston University Medical Center, her research fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and her fellowship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
At UNC, her laboratory is working to identify new therapeutic targets in pancreatic cancer and metastatic colorectal cancer.
Yeh was part of a team of UNC researchers who developed a drug-delivery device to help drive chemotherapy drugs into hard-to-reach tumors. The device is designed to improve drug delivery for diseases like pancreatic cancer, which are often shielded from chemotherapy by the dense and poorly vascularized surrounding tissue.
“Once this goes to clinical trials, it could shift the paradigm for pancreatic cancer treatments – or any other solid tumors where standard IV chemotherapy drugs are hard to get to,” Yeh said.
The device uses electric fields to drive drugs directly into tumors, shrinking them and slowing their growth. In a study published Feb. 4 in the journal Science Translational Medicine, Yeh and colleagues showed that their device decreased the size of pancreatic and breast cancers in animal models. In the breast cancer models, the device helped prolong survival -- especially when combined with radiation treatment.