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In honor of PCF scientist, Dr. Charles “Chuck” Kwok Fai Chan, PhD, stem cell biologist at Stanford University

It is with deep sadness that we announce that our beloved and esteemed friend and colleague, Dr. Charles “Chuck” Chan passed away on March 12, 2024, at the age of 48.
Chuck has been a member of the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Community since he obtained a PCF Young Investigator Award in 2013, to understand how metastatic prostate cancer cells invade and survive in the bone marrow and identify new methods to therapeutically target bone metastases, when he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Irving Weissman and Michael Longaker Laboratories at Stanford University.

At the time of his passing, Chuck held the positions of Assistant Professor, Surgery – Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery; Member, Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine; Member, Hagey Laboratory for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine; Heritage Medical Institute Investigator; DiGenova Faculty Scholar; Member, Bio-X; Member, Cardiovascular Institute; Member, Immunology; and Member, Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance, at Stanford University.

Chuck’s research focused on the biology of aging in stem cells and stem cell niches and developed novel model systems and methods to study the bone marrow hematopoietic stem cell niche in aging and cancer conditions. His research identified the bone marrow stromal cells that support engraftment of both normal hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and metastatic cancer stem cells in the bone marrow microenvironment. His work identified the skeletal stem cells that give rise to bone, cartilage, and stromal cells, and the molecular pathways that are activated in response to bone injury or disease, for instance by cancer metastases. His team was also exploring therapeutic approaches including an engineered monocyte-based cell therapy approach as a method to remodel the local immune microenvironment of metastatic prostate cancer in bone, and the development of antibodies to block immunosuppressive tumor cell “don’t eat me” signals through CD47.

“Chuck was a cancer survivor which shaped his formidable dedication to cancer research and identifying solutions for patients,” said PCF Chief Science Officer Howard R. Soule, PhD. “Chuck illuminated the path to scientific discovery with his brilliance and dedication. His untimely departure leaves a void in our hearts and a profound loss in the scientific community. His legacy will forever inspire us to pursue our research endeavors with unwavering passion and commitment.”

To leave a message in Chuck’s memory for his family and friends, read and view photos about his life, and for information on the Celebration of Chuck’s Life (scheduled for May 15, 2024 at Stanford University) and a Memorial Fund being established to honor his legacy at Stanford School of Medicine, please visit: https://chazchan.forevermissed.com. His family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to this memorial fund to continue Chuck’s passion in research.