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Dream Team

“If we can starve the tumors, we can stop them from growing.” —Zhenghe "John" Wang

As a young researcher from China in graduate school in the U.S., Zhenghe “John” Wang found himself captivated by the possibilities of the then-emerging field of genome sequencing.

After earning his PhD, he began working with one of the world’s pioneers in the subject. Within a few years, Wang himself discovered a gene mutation that appeared to have a connection with colorectal cancer.

Now, through a promising clinical trial, he and his team are testing whether a one-two punch—blocking a key amino acid while delivering a specific chemotherapy drug—can “starve” the kinds of cancer cells found in patients with the mutation Wang found.

Recognizing the promise of this and other work, a group of researchers from Case Western Reserve and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center has been named to one of 20 “Dream Teams” designated by the American Association for Cancer Research and Stand Up to Cancer. Wang is one of the national team’s co-leaders and heads up the Cleveland group.

“To work with the world’s research leaders to find treatment for cancer patients,” Wang said, “is beyond my wildest dream.”