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Johns Hopkins Finalists to Compete for Top Award in Creative Thinking Competition to Cure Metastatic Cancer - 01/06/2012

Johns Hopkins Finalists to Compete for Top Award in Creative Thinking Competition to Cure Metastatic Cancer

Winner to receive Rangos Medal of Honor, cash prize and help pursuing research idea
Release Date: January 6, 2012

Five Johns Hopkins students have been selected as finalists in a competition to find new ways to cure metastatic cancer. The five, whose ideas were chosen from among 44 presentations, will compete on January 13, 2012, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., for the top prize of $20,000 and a chance to pursue their research proposals.

The competition was created at Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the top three winners will receive the John G. Rangos Medal of Honor in Creative Thinking. Second prize is $5,000 and third prize is $1,000. This is the first year of the program, which has the goal of encouraging young people to look at the problem of metastatic cancer and propose new research strategies.

“Every family knows someone who has suffered from cancer. Some forms of the disease, such as testicular cancer, are curable even after they have spread, but most are not,” says John Rangos Sr., chairman of the Rangos Family Foundation. “This competition has solicited ideas from the minds of bright young students with creative approaches to solving the dilemma of metastatic cancer, and I am extremely honored to be part of it,” adds Rangos, who is funding the awards. 

The five finalists will be judged on the novelty of their ideas and the scientific merit, as well as the feasibility of future clinical application of their proposals. Each will present his or her idea    at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, in front of an auditorium filled with Hopkins researchers, physicians and students. The judges, who include Hopkins faculty members, will select the top winner right after the presentations.

The finalists are Kevin Chung, a medical oncology fellow; Diane Heiser, a Ph.D. candidate in Cellular and Molecular Medicine; Cheng Ran Huang, who is pursuing her Ph.D. in human genetics and a master’s degree in biostatistics; Brian Ladle, a fellow in pediatric oncology; and Andrew Sharabi, a resident in radiation oncology.

The competition was open to all currently enrolled full-time students and trainees at The Johns Hopkins University, including undergraduate, graduate and medical students, residents and fellows.

Rangos, who has had a long association with Johns Hopkins Medicine, worked with faculty members in the Department of Urology at Johns Hopkins to develop the program, including Donald S. Coffey and Horst Schirmer.

The program organizers plan to continue the competition in future years and perhaps open it up to students at other institutions. “We envision this competition to be the Olympics of curing metastatic cancer,” says Coffey. “Why some metastatic cancers can be cured while most cannot is one of the most provocative questions in medicine, and it will take novel, creative approaches to overcome this very difficult challenge.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM), headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a $6.5 billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading health care systems in the United States. JHM unites physicians and scientists of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with the organizations, health professionals and facilities of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. JHM's mission is to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and clinical care. Diverse and inclusive, JHM educates medical students, scientists, health care professionals and the public; conducts biomedical research; and provides patient-centered medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat human illness. JHM operates six academic and community hospitals, four suburban health care and surgery centers, and more than 30 primary health care outpatient sites. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, opened in 1889, has been ranked number one in the nation for 21 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report.

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