Russian-born Natasha Rapoport, Ph.D., a research professor of bioengineering at the University of Utah, knows something of pain and trauma. Her physician father, Yakov, was jailed in 1953, wrongly accused in an infamous, yet fictitious “Doctor’s Plot” to assassinate Stalin. Natasha was 14 when she opened the door and her beloved papa was whisked away to be manacled and interrogated. Yakov Rapoport survived, and both father and daughter later wrote memoirs. Yakov has died, and Natasha has traded the Moscow forests for Salt Lake’s desert. But she carries on the family scientific tradition in a quest to make currently fatal pancreatic cancer a chronic, or even curable, disease.
Rapoport is the recipient of a $100,000 research award from the FUS Foundation to study the mechanisms of ultrasound action and its role in delivering cancer drugs to tumors. Her project will combine results from two powerful imaging modalities, MRI and RFP (red fluorescent protein), to study in vivo how the cancer drug paclitaxel is delivered by ultrasound to effectively kill pancreatic cancer cells. Click here to read full report.