We Fund Grants
From 2011 to the present, Upstage Lung Cancer has partnered with LUNGevity Foundation to fund $800,000 in lung cancer research grants.
Sputum Markers for the Early Detection of Lung Cancer
Early detection of lung cancer offers the best chance for survival. The 2011 National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) found a 20% decrease in cancer deaths in high risk individuals (smokers and former smokers) through CT screening. Discovering lung cancer at an earlier stage makes it more easily treatable to extend lives. Dr. Jiang and his colleagues aim to enhance the effectiveness of CT scans for early detection of lung cancer through their research on detecting biomarkers in saliva. It will be possible to make a more accurate diagnosis by combining the use of panels of biomarkers in saliva with CT scans. The cost is low; it is non-invasive and can help to avoid more harmful interventions. The ultimate goal is to save lives.
Identifying Tumor Genomic Changes in Lung Cancers
The results of Rebecca Heist, MD, MPH, innovative research to identify new tumor genetic changes in lung cancer are very promising. This work is an important step in developing clinical trials for novel agents in lung cancer treatment. The ultimate goal of this research is to extend lives of lung cancer patients and to create new means of early detection.
The treatment of lung cancer has been revolutionized by the discovery of specific targeted therapies such as erlotinib or gefitinib for EGFR-mutated lung cancer or crizotinib for ALK-translocated lung cancer. These successes have taught us that lung cancer is not just one disease, but a multitude of different diseases, best defined by the specific tumor genetic changes that are driving tumor growth and that can serve as targets for therapy. In our labs, we have been performing tumor genetic testing via SNapShot, a panel of known oncogenic mutations, since 2009. We have found that approximately 40% of our patients do not have an identifiable mutation from the panel of known mutations. For these patients, identifying what tumor genetic changes are driving their cancer will be critical to be able to develop effective targeted therapy. This research therefore is focused on those patients who did not have an identifiable tumor mutation, with the hope that we can discover new targets for effective therapy. We plan to do this by performing whole exome sequencing, i.e. sequencing of the whole expressed portion of the tumor genome, on the tumor tissues of patients who did not have any identifiable tumor mutations. y screening these tumors for chromosomal rearrangements involving tyrosine kinases using this two-pronged approach, we are identifying novel tumor-related genetic changes that will spur the next series of targeted therapies for lung cancer.