Minister of Science and Technology Darryl Vaz S&T XXtrodineers presented a plaque to Dr. Simon Badal in his honor at the launch of the recognition program on 14th July.
Black men are two and a half times more likely to die from prostate cancer, and Jamaican men have one of the highest rates of cancer in the world. Developing better treatments, including drugs to fight cancer among black people.
Her research is based on the fact that black women are more likely to develop triple-negative breast cancer and have a higher death rate. Considering that more than 90 percent of Jamaica’s population is black, Badal’s work takes on even greater significance.
Badal is not angry with the work done, she dares to make a difference. The harder the task, the more determined she is to succeed. That tenacity of purpose led her to great work in cancer research that benefited black people in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. Her findings mean that treatments can now be tailored to this specific group.
Badal’s list of achievements is impressive. A graduate of St. Andrew’s Meadowbrook High School, she fell in love with science and is a senior lecturer in UWI’s Department of Biochemistry. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Cancer Science and Clinical Research and the American International Journal of Biology. She spearheaded the delivery of pharmacology education to second-year pharmacy students at the University of Technology.
So far, she has achieved great success in the year Her tireless work at the Foundation for Anti-Cancer Research Jamaica (ACRJ) in 2014 led to her commitment to developing a prostate cancer cell line in black men.
After several years of hard work at the ACRJ Cell Culture Lab at the University of the West Indies’ Mona campus, Badal developed the first prostate cancer cell line from the Caribbean, named ACRJ-PC28. The development has reached a significant level.
Cell lines are taken from the body and can be made outside the body. Scientists can grow them for a long time, watching what happens in cancer cells and normal cells. This is very important to develop more effective medicines.
Before Badal’s discovery, only white blood cell lines were available for white people.
“During my research into the effectiveness of some promising Jamaican compounds for cancer treatment, I realized that there is a lot of diversity in cancer research. For example, the cell lines I used in my research to test these compounds were all derived from Caucasian individuals,” Badal said.
She was determined to change this.
“This led me to where I am today, developing black cancer cell lines from the Caribbean so that we have better representation,” she added.
Having these black Caribbean cell lines in drug development “will help us develop drugs that are more effective against cancer in black people,” Badal said.
Badal is preparing to publish her first book ‘No Cell Left Behind’ with BambooSparks.
In the year The Jamaican scientist’s impact was evident when she received the more than US$500,000 NIH Emerging Global Leader Award in 2020. That funding is helping to expand prostate cancer cell line development and expand facilities in the lab, she said.
In the year In 2014, she was one of five winners of the Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World. The awards were presented at the annual AAAS meeting in Chicago.