UH Med Now

Cancer researcher, student at JABSOM will go bald April 22 to support childhood cancer–You can help!

Date: April 9th, 2018 in JABSOM News    Print or PDF

Pictured, St. Baldrick’s 2018 JABSOM Summer Fellow Mark Brisco

A UH Mānoa student has once again been selected by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to study childhood cancer at JABSOM this summer. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation exists to fill the gap in funding that goes to cancer research in children. Only 4% of federal cancer research funding is solely dedicated to childhood cancer.

By Tina Shelton, JABSOM Communications Director

University of Hawaiʻi – Mānoa (UHM) student Mark Brisco will be working at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) this summer to devise a better way to diagnose cancer in children. But first he will get a severe haircut.

Brisco, who is studying biochemistry at UHM, is the recipient of the 2018 St. Baldrick’s Summer Fellowship Award, which will allow him to take part in pediatric cancer research at JABSOM. His mentor will be JABSOM’s Dr. Bruce Shiramizu, Pediatrician and Researcher. And that’s where the haircut comes in.

Dr. Shiramizu is a proud supporter of the annual “Shave-Off” fundraising event orchestrated by St. Baldrick’s to raise money to fight childhood cancer. Along with Dr. Shiramizu (and thousands of other people around the country), Brisco will be submitting his thick locks of hair to a razor. The “Shave-Off” is a festive event, leaving the fundraisers with a shiny bald pate and for a few weeks at least, recognizable proof that they support the cause.

The 2018 St. Baldrick’s Foundation Event in Honolulu is coming up on April 22. Dr. Shiramizu’s Laboratory Team, “Shaven Things,” is seeking donations. You can help fund childhood cancer research through the Shaven Things team website.

Before and after shots of Dr. Shiramizu, during a  previous "shave your head" fundraiser in Honolulu for cancer research.

Before and after shots of Dr. Shiramizu, during a previous “shave your head” fundraiser in Honolulu for cancer research.

Brisco, 21, said he is thrilled with the research opportunity that awaits him during his summer Fellowship in Dr. Shriamizu’s lab.

“To give a child a fair chance at life for the first time in their lives is a truly unique and momentous opportunity. This experience will not only alter my life course but I hope can alter the life courses of many others through the findings of this research,” said Brisco.

An aspiring medical student, Brisco said his research will center on cancer cell recognition inside the human body, where he hopes to discover a better technique for recognizing and diagnosing cancer in children.

JABSOM is one of just 21 institutions receiving $5,000 awards this year to fund the summer fellowship opportunity.

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