Omer Kucuk, MD, Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology and Medical Oncologist at Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, GA, was elected to the SIO Board of Trustees in October 2013. A board certified and practicing medical oncologist, he is recognized for his pioneering research on nutrition and cancer therapy.
A graduate of Hacettepe University Medical School in Ankara, Turkey, Dr. Kucuk conducted his residency and fellowship at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois, and a hematology and oncology fellowship at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago.
At Emory, Dr. Kucuk is Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology; Professor of Urology, Department of Urology; Chief, Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology; Director, Multidisciplinary Genitourinary Oncology Group; and Leader, Prostate Cancer Research Program, Winship Cancer Institute. Prior to his Emory appointment, he served at the Karmanos Cancer Center at Wayne State University in Detroit as professor and co-leader of the population sciences and prevention program and member of genitourinary and head and neck cancer multidisciplinary groups.
While consideration of the positive impact of compounds in food can be traced back thousands of years, serious research into these mechanisms has been undertaken only in the past two decades, Dr. Kucuk notes. He conducted the first clinical trials to show the benefits of soy isoflavones and lycopene supplements in prostate cancer treatment and continues to build on his work in these areas. His studies found that soy isoflavones enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiation while at the same time decreasing side effects. "We can apply this knowledge immediately," he observes. "The benefits are immense for patients." From a practical perspective, soy isoflavones are readily available in the market, so they can be included in a routine diet.
Dr. Kucuk is the recipient of the Mark Bieber Academic Award from the American College of Nutrition (ACN) in 2009 in recognition of academic excellence and outstanding professional dedication to the fields of nutrition and health.
He is an accomplished translational researcher, bringing laboratory findings to the clinic. His involvement in multiple cancer prevention trials includes work in selenium in lung cancer prevention; lycopene, folic acid, zinc and soy in cancer prevention; and zileuton in pre-malignancy in lung cancer. His work in nutrition and cancer therapy includes sensitization of prostate cancer to docetaxel and radiation. Dr. Kucuk has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and foundations in support of his work.
The author of more than 180 peer-reviewed publications, review articles and book chapters, he serves on the editorial boards of such publications as Cancer Detection and Prevention and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.