Of the nine million Veterans in the United States, one million aged 50 and older will develop colorectal cancer over the remainder of their lives and nearly 433,000 Veterans will die from it. But one VA research team is working hard to change those numbers.

Dr. Liu Kebin, a research biologist with Augusta VA in Georgia, was recently awarded $1.2 million to further his colon cancer immunology research for four more years.

VA’s Office of Research and Development awarded the funds to Kebin to continue this Veteran-centric research detecting tumor cells and immune cell interaction in human colon cancer.

Nationally, the five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer among Veterans is about 40 percent while the general population’s survival rate is around 60 percent. Kebin’s research might help advance more effective therapies in battling the disease.

Research for colorectal cancer complex but mission is simple

“My research team and I are exploring ways to develop more effective and safe Type I interferons (Type I IFN) therapies for human cancer treatment,” Liu said.

Type I IFNs are small proteins secreted from human cells. They “interfere” with an invader in our body, such as a virus, and are our first line of defense. Scientists are taking notice.

“The success of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine used lipid nanoparticles to deliver biologic materials to the human cells to treat the virus,” said Liu. “Our research uses lipid nanoparticles to deliver DNA to tumor cells to suppress cancer.”

The research is complex, but the mission is simple: enhance the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.

“We hope the lipid nanoparticle IFN treatment can one day be used to treat patients with colorectal cancer,” Liu said.

Here is a more in-depth technical look at Liu’s research.

By Megan Kon

Public affairs specialist, Augusta VA

Share this story

Published on Aug. 27, 2022

Estimated reading time is 1.4 min.

Views to date: 829


  1. Robert Close September 1, 2022 at 1:48 am - Reply

    Is there any connection between colorectal cancer and Agent Orange exposure?

  2. Joshua August 31, 2022 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    Hello my name is Joshua Reaser .
    I am 43 and was recently diagnosed with rectal cancer I’ve had 4 immediate family members on my moms side with different cancer and are now deceased. I work as a teacher I’m New York with the doe
    I’d like to know a direct number to help me with bills or any kind of financial assistance ( temporary ) or free programs for my 13 year old child for sports or extra curricular activities that are provided for free
    Thank you

    • Veterans Health Administration September 1, 2022 at 9:03 am - Reply

      Hi, Joshua. I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, and wish you a full, successful recovery. If you’re struggling with your copays, VA can help. Possible options include a repayment plan, debt relief or copayment exemption. To learn more, reach out to your local VA medical center or visit https://www.va.gov/health-care/pay-copay-bill/#find-out-how-to-request-financ.

  3. Jon Patzer August 31, 2022 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    This brings up other questions, like why is it that colorectal cancer homes in on veterans? Different food, environment, late medical diagnosis and treatment?

  4. anne warren August 27, 2022 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    i have a really useful suggestion that that probably go a much longer way to get those of us who really dispise the ancient torture known preparation for colonoscopy for which we spend days as PTSD and total panic for days ahead of time. Instead of the indignity and misery of that gallon sized instrument of torture which holds the poison we are forced to drink in agony=how about a nice human centered small to medium sized pill that does not smell like the product it will produce in embarrassingly foul pain and humiliation at any time. Then you just follow up with the gallon of straight water the next day until about 1-2 hrs before the misery starts, We don’t start out with weeks of nightmares and sleep apnea, you don’t have to listen to our whining and excuses to avoid procedure and hopefully another nightmare joins the medical books of nightmares past. You get sainthood, we get to feel like humans. What a deal!!!

    • Mary September 6, 2022 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      It’s an interesting idea that

Leave A Comment

More Stories

  • New genetic research discoveries may one day help doctors better screen Veterans at risk of suicide and prevent it in the first place.

  • A lack of public awareness about MST leaves gaps in our national discourse. Dispelling myths can help survivors know they are not alone and connect them to resources.

  • Virtual visits through the VA Video Connect app and VA apps can help Veterans manage their PTSD, depression and other mental health issues.