Drs. Anil Vachani and Claudio Scafoglio Awarded LUNGevity Foundation 2021 Early Detection Awards

LUNGevity maintains commitment to fund impactful research to catch lung cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages
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Linda Wenger
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WASHINGTON, DC (September 16, 2021) — LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s leading lung cancer-focused nonprofit organization and the only lung cancer organization with a programmatic focus on early detection, announced today the recipients of its 2021 Early Detection Awards (EDAs) for lung cancer research. These awards support translational research projects directed at new approaches to improve clinical methods for the detection and diagnosis of lung cancer. These two-year awards are for up to $600,000 over a two-year period.

LUNGevity is proud to support the following 2021 Early Detection Award projects:

  • Anil Vachani, MD, University of Pennsylvania — Optimizing biomarker based strategies for lung cancer screening. Currently, low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is the only tool for the screening and early detection of lung cancer in individuals who meet screening criteria. LDCT is not very sensitive; often, abnormalities identified in an LDCT scan turn out to be benign. However, ruling out cancer requires an invasive biopsy. Dr. Vachani is testing whether a biomarker signature can be integrated into LDCT screening to improve the sensitivity of LDCT so that patients may be spared unnecessary biopsies.
  • Claudio Scafoglio, MD, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles — Pilot study of SGLT2 in the characterization of early lung adenocarcinoma. The protein SGL2 seems to be produced in higher quantities on abnormal lung cells than on normal lung cells. Dr. Scafoglio is testing whether SGL2 can be used to image lung cancer cells by using a new imaging technology.

“We are thrilled to support these accomplished investigators who are working in key areas of early detection of lung cancer research: one working to improve the sensitivity of LDCT by integrating biomarkers and the other looking at a new imaging modality by detecting a protein that is preferentially expressed in lung cancer cells,” notes Robert L. Keith, MD, professor of medicine and cancer biology at University of Colorado, Denver, associate chief of staff – research at Rocky Mountain Regional VAMC, and a member of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board. “Through our investment in this year’s awardees, we hope to move the needle in early detection of lung cancer where the potential of cure through surgical intervention is high.” 

“LUNGevity is deeply committed to stage-shifting lung cancer so that the majority of patients are found in an early stage versus now, when the majority of people are diagnosed with lung cancer that has already spread,” says Upal Basu Roy, PhD, MPH, LUNGevity’s Executive Director of Research. “Patient outcomes are vastly improved when their lung cancer is found early stage. Research is the key to boosting survival rates for this disease.”

Under the stewardship of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board, a group of 25 prominent scientists and researchers, LUNGevity ensures that grants are awarded to those researchers whose proposals demonstrate the greatest potential for finding lung cancer at its earliest, most treatable phase, as well as for extending and improving lives of lung cancer survivors.

LUNGevity’s researchers are working on finding a better way to detect lung cancer and to better diagnose, treat, and prevent its recurrence. The foundation’s research program is a crucial factor in moving the science forward to improve outcomes for people living with lung cancer.

LUNGevity’s Scientific Research Program is supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Janssen R&D, Genentech, The Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation, the Schmidt Legacy Foundation, and individual donors.

About LUNGevity Foundation

LUNGevity Foundation is the nation’s leading lung cancer organization focused on improving outcomes for people with lung cancer through research, policy initiatives, education, support, and engagement for patients, survivors, and caregivers. LUNGevity seeks to make an immediate impact on quality of life and survivorship for everyone touched by the disease—while promoting health equity by addressing disparities throughout the care continuum. LUNGevity works tirelessly to advance research into early detection and more effective treatments, provide information and educational tools to empower patients and their caregivers, promote impactful public policy initiatives, and amplify the patient voice through research and engagement. The organization provides an active community for patients and survivors—and those who help them live longer and better lives. 

Comprehensive resources include a medically vetted and patient-centric website, a toll-free HELPLine for support, the International Lung Cancer Survivorship Conference, and an easy-to-use Clinical Trial Finder, among other tools. All of these programs are to achieve our vision—a world where no one dies of lung cancer. LUNGevity Foundation is proud to be a four-star Charity Navigator organization.

About Lung Cancer in the US

  • About 1 in 16 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime.
  • More than 235,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year.
  • About 60%-65% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers.
  • Lung cancer takes more lives than the next three leading cancers (colorectal, breast, and prostate) combined.
  • Only 22% of all people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive 5 years or more, BUT if it’s caught before it spreads, the chance of 5-year survival improves dramatically.