Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) has awarded five $100,000 grants to fund mesothelioma research. One of the recipients was Haining Yang, MD, PhD, with the Cancer Research Center of Hawai’i’s Thoracic Oncology Program. She has also won a $120,000 from the Hawai’i Community Foundation’s Leahi Fund. The more than $200,000 earned by Yang will go toward continued studies in mesothelioma research. Scientists are well aware that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, but what is not clear is how it happens. Yang plans to use her $100,000 grant from the MARF to examine this in hopes of providing a pool of knowledge from which to draw to create preventative methods and treatments. Such research could help to save some of the 2,500 lives lost annually in the United States to mesothelioma. The $120,000 from the Leahi Fund will support Yang’s research into the early detection of mesothelioma in Turkish villages with high incidents of the cancer. Although young, Yang has an illustrious research reputation from her medical and postdoctoral training. Yang’s medical degree was earned at Shandong Medical University.
After that, her postdoctoral work was done under the tutorship of Michele Carbone, MD, PhD, director of the Thoracic Oncology Program and interim director of the CRCH. Carbone had glowing remarks for his former protege upon learning of her awards. He said, “I’m elated but not surprised by Dr. Yang’s grant awards from the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and the Hawai’i Community Foundation. They recognize the quality of her current work and future potential in mesothelioma research in the U.S. and in the international arena.” The Cancer Research Center, where Yang works, is one of 67 such places across the United States, and it is devoted to examining the incidence and researching ways to reduce and treat mesothelioma in the unique ethnic and cultural makeup of Hawai’i. Many of the cases of mesothelioma have come from workers in the naval shipyard at Pearl Harbor, where for decades, the United States Navy used asbestos-containing materials in their ship construction.