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Fox Chase Cancer Center's Dr. Hong Yan Receives Charles E. Culpeper Foundation Pilot Grant

PHILADELPHIA (January 13, 1999) -- Dr. Hong Yan of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., a cell biologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center, has received a $25,000 Biomedical Pilot Initiative grant from the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation, based in Stamford, Conn.

The grant will help Yan pursue new research on a cellular protein related to Werner syndrome, a rare genetic disorder associated with premature diseases of aging. As early as age 20, people with Werner's syndrome may develop arteriosclerosis, diabetes, osteoporosis, graying and loss of hair, skin degeneration and increased risk of cancer.

Yan discovered the protein during research on how cells organize and duplicate their genetic material. Since this process is vital for orderly normal growth, disturbances can cause abnormalities leading to cancer and other problems. Understanding how these abnormalities occur is the first step toward developing treatments.

Using extracts of frog eggs as a model system, Yan's work indicates that the protein is essential for organizing the molecular focal points for DNA replication. The protein in frogs is the counterpart of the human Werner syndrome protein, termed WRN, but little is known about this protein's normal role in human cells. Yan's next experiments are designed to learn more about the protein and its function.

Yan received his undergraduate degree in biology from Nanjing University in the People's Republic of China in 1984 and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cornell University in 1991. Yan then held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California at San Diego until joining Fox Chase Cancer Center's basic science division in December 1996.

The Charles E. Culpeper Foundation is a private independent charitable foundation established under the will of Charles Emory Culpeper, one of the early pioneers in the bottling and marketing of Coca Cola. The Foundation makes grants in the areas of health, education and arts and culture.

The recently established Charles E. Culpeper Biomedical Pilot Initiative is designed to support the investigation of novel ideas, particularly in molecular genetics, bioengineering, molecular pharmacology and health services. Through this Initiative, the Culpeper Foundation makes grants of up to $25,000 on a one-time basis to explore new and even untested hypotheses. These grants can be viewed as "venture capital" leading to greater funding opportunities through traditional sources.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 35 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. The Center's activities include basic and clinical research, prevention, detection and treatment of cancer and community outreach programs.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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