Cancer researcher supported by the American Cancer Society
"My family was devastated when my stepmom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.
"It was incredibly hard to be away from family as I finished my PhD in mechanical engineering. I also felt frustrated that some of the medications prescribed to her weren't working and her tumor was growing. This motivated me to switch my focus to cancer research.
"With funding from the American Cancer Society, I helped develop a special microfluidic chip. When a small amount of someone's blood is filtered through the chip, it separates cancer cells from other cells. I can then determine the cancer cells' genetic fingerprint, identify the tumor type, and make sure the patient is receiving the treatment that is most likely to help her win her fight against cancer.
"This work is leading to what will someday be a liquid biopsy, where a simple blood draw in the doctor’s office will diagnose cancer quickly and painlessly. No more surgical biopsies and a lot less waiting to see if the patient is getting the right treatment or not.
"My stepmom inspired me to begin my cancer research, my son inspires me to continue, and the American Cancer Society is helping me finish it. I want him to know cancer only as something manageable or hopefully just a distant memory.”
The American Cancer Society has a proven track record of supporting the best ideas of the brightest cancer researchers. We are one of the few organizations that funds young researchers like Shannon early in their careers whose innovative work often leads to critical breakthroughs for people fighting cancer.
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