Peter Mac News


Dr Yuchen Bai has received a Cancer Council Victoria Postdoctoral Fellowship

14 February 2024

Screenshot 2024 02 15 at 12.38.37 pm 2

Dr Yuchen Bai received $450,000 funding over three years from the Cancer Council Victoria for her project: ‘Promoting cell growth to prevent the spread of head and neck cancer.’

Head and neck cancer (HNC) is known for its rapid spread and low survival rates. Over half of HNC patients experience metastasis within nine months of diagnosis, leading to a low two-year survival rate of less than 10%.

Dr Bai explained that her project has four main goals to understand the factors that trigger cancer cells to switch from growth to spreading, to use genome-editing technologies to modify cancer cells in the lab to prevent spreading, to then test this in live animals, and investigate the combination of our approach with an FDA approved therapy to prevent cancer growth and spread.

“This research offers renewed hope for those facing metastatic HNC and similar challenging cancers,” said Dr Bai

“By understanding the factors that drive HNC metastasis, this project will hopefully lead to improved survival rates and enhanced patient quality of life.

“At the moment our treatments target fast-growing cells, but metastatic cells can grow slowly and may therefore be resistant to these treatments,” she said.

Dr Bai explained that this cycle of cancer returning and spreading needs to stop and believes her research will help provide some solutions.

“Every individual impacted by HNC is more than a statistic; they are someone’s beloved family member with dreams and aspirations. This research is driven by an earnest desire to rekindle hope and progress, to lighten the burden on patients and their families, and to contribute to the overarching mission of conquering metastatic HNC. Together, we’ll make a meaningful difference,” said Dr Bai.