From left, Bobbie Smith, executive director of the American Thyroid Association, Bite Me Cancer founder and board member Nikki Ferraro, and Nikki's mom Sharon Ferraro (who is also a Bite Me Cancer board member) pose with a check for $57,000 from the Bite Me Cancer Foundation that will fund a thyroid cancer research grant being administered in conjunction with Bite Me Cancer's partner, The American Thyroid Association. This is the third research grant Bite Me Cancer has funded. (Photo Courtesy of Bite Me Cancer)..
Bite Me Cancer, a national nonprofit based in Fairfax that supports teenagers with cancer and raises funds for thyroid cancer research, named Dr. Irene Min of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York as the recipient of the group’s third research grant.
The $57,500 grant is being administered in conjunction with Bite Me Cancer’s partner, The American Thyroid Association.
“It is my great honor to be awarded for the thyroid cancer research,” Min said. “This means a lot to me because I have been trying hard to establish a new project on thyroid cancer and to obtain funding that supports the project with independence.”
“We are very excited about the research Dr. Min will be doing and that Bite Me Cancer and its wonderful supporters can help further her work,” said Nikki Ferraro, a thyroid cancer survivor who founded Bite Me Cancer six years ago.
Min received her BS in biology from Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea and her M.Phil from the Department of Physiology, from Cambridge University in England. She earned a Ph.D. in Genetics from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.
An experienced basic research scientist with a focus in stem cell biology, genetics and genomics, Min’s research program will focus on specific immune therapeutics that can loosen the immune suppressive environment to reach a greater level of improvement in thyroid cancer tumor targeting.
Bite Me Cancer’s first grant funded a thyroid cancer research project at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The group’s second grant supported thyroid cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Bite Me Cancer is close to securing a majority of the funding needed to fund a fourth thyroid cancer research grant.
Thyroid cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer among children between the ages of 15-19 in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.
Ferraro was diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer in 2010 when she was 17. She started raising money for cancer research just weeks later even before her first major cancer surgery.
Along with raising funds for thyroid cancer research the group provides support, encouragement and understanding for teenagers who have been diagnosed with cancer. Bite Me Cancer provides Teen Support Bags to teenagers in treatment for all cancers through their 70-plus hospital partners across the country.
The American Thyroid Association, headquartered in Falls Church, is devoted to thyroid biology and to the prevention and treatment of thyroid disease through excellence in research, clinical care, education, and public health.
To learn more about Bite Me Cancer to or find out how to contribute time or money to support the foundation, visit www.bitemecancer.org.