LUNGevity Foundation Grants Two Research Awards for Lung Cancer Studies Within the VA System

LUNGevity strategically supports lung cancer researchers to continue progress in early detection and treatment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact

Linda Wenger
lwenger@LUNGevity.org
(973) 449-3214

WASHINGTON, DC (October 4, 2022)— LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s leading lung cancer-focused nonprofit organization, is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2022 VA Research Scholar Awards.

“LUNGevity Foundation is committed to supporting America’s veterans and veteran-focused healthcare,” said Upal Basu Roy, PhD, MPH, Executive Director of Research at LUNGevity. “These awards fund critical lung cancer research while supporting lung cancer researchers who are interested in continuing their careers within the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and its affiliated medical centers.”  

LUNGevity uses a rigorous approach to select awardees. Each research project is evaluated by a multidisciplinary review committee of thoracic oncology leaders who are passionate about serving the US veteran population.

This year, the recipients of LUNGevity’s VA Research Scholar Awards are:  

Alex Bryant, MD
VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
Project: Predicting clinical benefit of immunotherapy in veterans

Dr. Bryant will use data from the Veterans Affairs system to develop statistical models to predict response to immunotherapy in patients with lung cancer. While immunotherapy has improved outcomes for many patients, scientists are still trying to understand why some people respond well to the treatment and others do not. If successful, this work will create a prototype to predict the benefit of choosing immunotherapy for individual patients. This tool could be used to counsel patients and inform patient-physician decision-making.

Lucas Vitzthum, MD
Stanford University School of Medicine / VA Palo Alto
Project: Isotoxic hypofractionation to personalize radiation for NSCLC

Dr. Vitzthum will develop and evaluate a method for personalized radiation therapy in patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients will be assessed regarding their expected risk of treatment toxicity, and those at lower risk will be treated in a fewer number of treatments with a more intense dose of radiation. If successful, this could result in optimized radiation treatment protocols that reduce barriers to treatment – such as financial burden and travel hardships – for patients.

“LUNGevity’s VA Research Scholar Awards fulfill a critical need by providing grants to junior investigators who are interested in pursuing research careers that will impact the lives of people facing a lung cancer diagnosis,” said Robert Keith, MD, Professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology at the University of Colorado Denver, Associate Chief of Staff of Research at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, and member of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board. “These grants are critical stepping stones in the careers of these researchers. With this support, the researchers conduct initial experiments and collect initial data to lay the groundwork for an impactful career focused on lung cancer research within the VA.”

 

About LUNGevity Foundation

LUNGevity Foundation is the nation's leading lung cancer organization focused on improving outcomes for people with lung cancer. The foundation works tirelessly to advance research into early detection and more effective treatments, and to ensure that patients have access to these advances. 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 provides 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 better and longer 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 17 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime.
  • More than 236,000 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 in the United States than the next two deadliest cancers (colorectal and pancreatic) combined.
  • Only about 23% of all people diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States will survive 5 years or more, BUT if it is caught before it spreads, the chance of 5-year survival improves dramatically.

Please visit LUNGevity.org to learn more.

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