LUNGevity awards inaugural Health Equity and Inclusiveness Lung Cancer Research Awards

Awards support outstanding early-stage lung cancer researchers from underrepresented populations
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Linda Wenger
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WASHINGTON, DC (September 13, 2021)—LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s leading lung cancer-focused nonprofit organization, announced today the 2021 award recipients for two new Health Equity and Inclusiveness award programs. The purpose of these award programs is to support the work of outstanding young lung cancer researchers from populations underrepresented in the field, as defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The LUNGevity/Janssen R&D Health Equity and Inclusiveness Research Fellow Award program supports fellows with an advanced degree and interested in translational lung cancer research. This year, LUNGevity is supporting one Health Equity and Inclusiveness Research Fellow. This award is for a maximum of $100,000 for 2 years.

  • Eduardo Nunez, MD, from Boston University — Improving lung cancer screening adherence among underserved populations

The LUNGevity/Janssen R&D Health Equity and Inclusiveness Junior Investigator Award program supports physician-scientists interested in conducting lung cancer clinical research with the goal of bridging health disparities in underrepresented communities and medically underserved populations. This year, LUNGevity is awarding two Health Equity and Inclusiveness Junior Investigator Awards. These awards are for a maximum of $200,000 for 2 years.

  • Neel Chudgar, MD, from Montefiore Cancer Center — Investigating incidental pulmonary nodules in underserved communities

  • Melina Marmarelis, MD, from University of Pennsylvania — Disparities in NSCLC molecular testing

Awardees are mentored by senior lung cancer experts at their own institutions, as well as receive guidance from LUNGevity Scientific Advisory Board members.

“Ethnic and racial minority representation within clinical and research-related professions is currently a major issue, with Black men making up less than 3% of physicians in 2020,” explained VCU Massey Cancer Center Director and LUNGevity board member Robert Winn, MD. “As health care inequity continues to be a major problem within underserved communities, having increased access to clinicians who understand their unique needs can play a pivotal role in bridging this gap. I am delighted to see the first cohort of recipients of the LUNGevity/Janssen R&D Health Equity and Inclusiveness Research Awards tackling important issues in lung cancer screening and biomarker testing in the lung cancer care continuum.”

“We are delighted to support the 2021 class of LUNGevity/Janssen R&D Health Equity and Inclusiveness research awardees. Bridging health disparities and working to ensure that patients have access to the best care possible is a major focus for us. Partnering with LUNGevity Foundation and supporting these young leaders is an important step toward achieving this goal,” said Sylvie Laquerre, PhD, Solid Tumors Disease Area Leader at Janssen Research & Development, LLC.

Under the stewardship of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board, a group of 25 prominent scientists and researchers, LUNGevity ensures that its grants are awarded to those researchers whose proposals demonstrate the greatest potential for extending and improving lives of those affected by lung cancer. LUNGevity awardees are working on finding a better way to detect lung cancer and to better diagnose, treat, and prevent its recurrence. The Foundation’s overall research program is a crucial factor in moving the science forward to improve outcomes for people living with lung cancer.

LUNGevity’s Health Equity and Inclusiveness Lung Cancer Research Awards Research Program is supported by Janssen R&D. LUNGevity’s Translational Science Research Program is supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb, 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.