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Yibin Kang, PhD

Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey

Current Research

  • Seeking to improve outcomes in metastatic breast cancer by identifying potential targets for drug discovery and development.
  • Laboratory studies are focused on boosting anti-tumor immunity and improve response to immunotherapies.
  • These studies may inform the development of a completely new class of treatments to improve outcomes for patients with highly aggressive breast cancers.

Metastasis occurs when cancer cells leave the primary site of cancer and form a new tumor in a different tissue. Breast cancer metastasis is an incurable disease and responsible for virtually all breast cancer deaths. Dr. Kang has identified a promising drug target that prevents metastasis in laboratory experiments. Studies are ongoing to explore a new class of drugs for patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Full Research Summary

Most breast cancer deaths are a result of metastasis (spreading of the primary tumor to distant organs). Complications from metastatic disease are also the major source of pain and suffering of breast cancer patients. Unfortunately, despite the clinical importance of metastasis, very few treatment options are available.

Dr. Kang's laboratory previously identified a gene called MTDH, as a key driver of poor outcomes in breast cancers. His studies over the past year showed that MTDH, which is overexpressed in 40 percent of breast cancer tissues, regulates immune surveillance and recognition of tumor cells by immune T cells. Inhibiting MTDH significantly improved the immune response and reduced tumor growth and metastasis in laboratory experiments. 

They have identified a promising drug to inhibit MTDH and will conduct studies to evaluate its therapeutic potential alone and in combination with immune checkpoint blockade therapies.

Development of more effective treatments requires better understanding of the biological mechanisms that drive metastasis or mediate their resistance to chemotherapeutic agents.

Results from these studies will pave the way for development of a completely new class of treatments and better outcomes for patients with highly aggressive breast cancers.


Yibin Kang is Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. He graduated from Fudan University in Shanghai in 1995. After completing his graduate study at Duke in 2000, Dr. Kang became an Irvington Institute postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Joan Massagué at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and pioneered a functional genomic approach to elucidate mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis. Dr. Kang joined the faculty of Princeton University as an Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology in 2004. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2010 and to Endowed Professor in 2012.

Dr. Kang’s research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis. His laboratory discovered new genes that promote recurrence, metastasis and chemoresistance of breast cancer, delineated tumor-stromal interactions that are essential for metastatic growth, and identified novel regulators with dual functions in mammary gland cell fate determination and tumor progression. Dr. Kang has published over 100 original articles in leading journals including Cell, Cancer Cell, and Nature Medicine. Dr. Kang's outstanding achievements have been recognized by many awards, including a Department of Defense Era of Hope Scholar Award (2006), the 2011 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Sciences (2011), the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievements in Cancer Research (2012), the Fidler Innovation Award from the Metastasis Research Society (2014) and the Fuller Albright Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (2014). Dr. Kang was elected as President of the Metastasis Research Society for the 2016-2018 term.

Grid Researcher Headshot - Kang Y

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Macy's Award

Area(s) of Focus