Dr. Kristina Young

In 2019, Susan G. Komen awarded $450,000 to Kristina Young, M.D., Ph.D., to study how to increase the ability of the immune system to fight metastatic breast cancer. To do this, she studies how depleting one protein, TGFbeta, can help the immune system identify and attack breast cancer cells. These studies will help create new treatment strategies for eliminating metastatic breast cancer.

“I am fortunate to be in the unique position to be both a radiation oncologist taking care of women with breast cancer in the clinic, and a scientist running a cancer research lab. For me, I cannot do one without the other,” Dr. Young explained. “I am constantly inspired by my patients who demonstrate strength and bravery in the face of the unknown.”

Dr. Young’s journey to becoming an oncologist started in college when her best friend’s mom, Barbara, passed away from breast cancer. She was studying chemical engineering at the time, but decided to dedicate herself to studying cancer and pursuing a career in medicine and research after the devastating loss. She keeps Barbara with her every day as she works to find better treatments for women with breast cancer.

“I use the knowledge and technology available to me in clinic to give my patients the best care possible. But there are some cases where we need more, we need to do better. That inspires my research. I work in the lab to try to find better treatments for my patients,” Dr. Young said.

The early results of Dr. Young’s research has been very compelling. The pre-clinical work is looking very favorable, and their next step is to test the concept using cells from patients. They hope to be able to offer this new therapy to patients in the next five years.

The funds donated and raised by the community are what allow us to continue investing in local research like Dr. Young’s.

Learn more about Dr. Young: https://oregon.providence.org/our-services/e/earle-a-chiles-research-institute/laboratory-research/tumor-microenvironment-laboratory/young/.

Listen to her interview with Susan G. Komen Oregon & SW Washington: https://www.facebook.com/398108244061/videos/629480114613819

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