UH Cancer Center researcher honored for her study of colorectal cancer

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Bryan Cheplic, (808) 564-5911
Public Information Officer, University of Hawaii Cancer Center
Posted: Oct 19, 2012

Assistant Professor Unhee Lim
Assistant Professor Unhee Lim
The Jimmy V. Foundation for Cancer Research has awarded Unhee Lim, a University of Hawaii Cancer Center researcher and assistant professor of cancer epidemiology, a two-year, $200,000 grant.  Lim is one of only 17 researchers selected nationwide to receive this grant after completing a highly competitive review process.
The funding will assist Lim in determining whether the amount of methyl-groups attached on DNA in people’s blood cells indicate a higher risk of subsequently developing cancer in the large intestine, more often referred to as colorectal cancer.
In Hawaii, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in males and the third leading cause of cancer death in females.  “I am very grateful to be the recipient of this prestigious grant,” said Unhee Lim, PhD. “It is the critical support needed in our efforts to better diagnose and prevent colorectal cancer, especially in high-risk groups in Hawaii.”
The novel aspect of Lim’s study is that it tests easily obtainable blood samples to measure epigenetic markers in people before they develop cancer in the colon or rectum. An equal number of cancer patients and healthy people will be studied from the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC), one of the largest ongoing population studies in the world with health information on over 215,000 Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, African Americans, Latinos and whites. The study may also contribute to the understanding if epigenetic changes are responsible for the different rates of colon cancer observed across different ethnic groups.

The V Foundation for Cancer Research is one of the nation’s leading cancer research funding organizations. The V Scholar Grants Program typically awards two-year, $200,000 grants to outstanding young researchers across the nation. The $3.4 million initiative, which funds “rising star” physicians and scientists as they begin their careers in cancer research, is an important and compelling component of The V Foundation’s overall grant objective. 
More information about Professor Unhee Lim and her research may be found at: www.uhcancercenter.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=16&id=111