LUNGevity Grants Three Career Development Awards to Accelerate Lung Cancer Research

For the 11th consecutive year, LUNGevity invests in the future of lung cancer research
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Linda Wenger
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WASHINGTON, DC (September 27, 2022)—LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s leading lung cancer-focused nonprofit organization, announced the recipients of their 2022 Career Development Awards today. 

LUNGevity’s Career Development Awards (CDA), now in their 11th consecutive year, support a cohort of future research leaders who will keep the pipeline of lung cancer research energized with new ideas and novel approaches. Awardees receive funding for their research projects, coveted mentorship opportunities, and serve as non-voting members of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board for the term of the awards. They also receive training in effective science communications. 

"It’s a privilege to announce the 2022 class of LUNGevity Career Development Awardees. As we just completed a systematic analysis of the lung cancer treatment landscape, we are confident these CDAs will address key unmet needs in the treatment landscape—developing immunotherapy combination approaches in the treatment of early-stage and metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, and new treatment options for rare lung cancers." says Upal Basu Roy, PhD, MPH, Executive Director of Research at LUNGevity. "By funding these early career researchers, LUNGevity helps to retain promising scientists in the lung cancer space. The CDA program encourages their continued focus on the key challenges facing the lung cancer community and contributes to a robust pipeline of dedicated lung cancer researchers." 

Past recipients of these awards have developed their own independent research programs, received major grants from the NIH and other funders, and even succeeded in getting a new treatment approved by the FDA. This year, the recipients of this prestigious award are: 

Kristen Marrone, MD 
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine 
Project: Phase 2 trial of neoadjuvant KRAS G12C directed therapy in resectable NSCLC 

Dr. Marrone will conduct a phase 2 clinical trial to test whether treatment with a KRAS G12C blocking drug, adagrasib, given as a single drug or in combination with an immunotherapy drug, nivolumab, before a patient undergoes surgery, can delay or prevent recurrence in patients with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have a KRAS G12C mutation.  

Michael Offin, MD 
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 
Project: Therapeutic targeting of BRAF fusion altered lung cancer 

Dr. Offin will be testing a series of new drugs in pre-clinical cell lines and animal models of lung cancer that contain BRAF fusions, which are known to be powerful stimulators of lung cancer development. Currently no targeted treatment exists for cancers that harbor these BRAF fusions. The goal of this project is to identify new drugs for this unmet need that can be tested in clinical trials.  

Joshua Reuss, MD 
Georgetown University 
Project: Combination checkpoint blockade plus VEGF inhibitor in EGFR-mutated NSCLC 

Dr. Reuss is conducting a phase 2 clinical trial to test whether a regimen of two immunotherapy drugs, atezolizumab and tiragolumab, given in combination with a VEGF inhibitor, bevacizumab, is effective in controlling EGFR-positive NSCLC that has become resistant to osimertinib.  

LUNGevity implements a rigorous process to carefully select awardees. Each research project is evaluated by a multidisciplinary review committee of thoracic oncology leaders, who are committed to finding lung cancer at its earliest, most treatable phase, as well as for extending and improving the lives of lung cancer survivors. 

“Congratulations to these awardees. When they look back, years from now, I believe this support from LUNGevity is likely to be viewed as an important turning-point in their careers,” said Charles Rudin, MD, PhD, Professor and Chief of the Thoracic Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Chair of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board. “These exceptional young investigators are poised to bring tremendous growth and improvements in our treatment of lung cancer. And I’m proud that LUNGevity Foundation is catalyzing their progress. “ 

LUNGevity is the only lung cancer organization with a programmatic focus on early detection and a strong Career Development Award Program. LUNGevity-funded researchers are working on finding a better way to detect lung cancer, and to better diagnose, treat, and prevent its recurrence. The Foundation’s translational research program, including the CDA awards, seeks to move the science forward to improve outcomes for people living with lung cancer. 

LUNGevity’s Career Development Awards program is supported by Genentech. 

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. 

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