We fund translational research to move knowledge as quickly as possible from basic discovery to treatment of patients.

Since 2002, LUNGevity has invested in 149 research projects at 61 institutions in 23 states focusing on early detection as well as more effective treatments of lung cancer.

Career Development Award

Dwight Owen
Dwight Owen, MD
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, OH
Targeting myeloid-derived suppressor cells in lung cancer

Immunotherapy has become a standard treatment regimen for advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer. However, most patients do not respond. One significant barrier to immunotherapy efficacy is the tumor microenvironment (TME), which contains immunosuppressive cells, including myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). MDSCs represent an important tumor immune escape mechanism and play a role in the development and progression of lung cancer. Dr. Owen will be studying how this group of cells can be targeted to improve the effect of immunotherapy.


Jacqulyne Robichaux, PhD
Jacqulyne Robichaux, PhD
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston , TX
Determining the role of ErbB signaling in KRAS G12C inhibitor resistance

In the United States, approximately 23,500 patients are diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer driven by the G12C mutation in the KRAS gene. In 2021, the United States FDA approved sotorasib, a drug that specifically blocks the effect of the G12C mutation. A similar drug is also being tested in clinical trials, and we anticipate it being approved. Both these drugs have shown promising effects in controlling the growth of KRAS+ NSCLC. However, acquired resistance is inevitable where the lung cancer cells outsmart these drugs and start growing again. Dr. Robichaux is studying signaling pathways that contribute to acquired resistance. One such pathway is the ErbB signaling pathway, caused by increased production of ErbB proteins. Dr. Robichaux's team is studying which type of ErbB protein is causing resistance to these KRAS inhibitors and whether blocking ErbB signaling can stop cancer cell growth. Her research will lay the foundation for combination clinical trials to prevent resistance to KRAS inhibitors such as sotorasib.


Erin Schenk, MD, PhD
Erin Schenk, MD, PhD
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
Innate immunity as a mechanism of TKI resistance in fusion-driven NSCLC

Fusion-driven NSCLC is a group of lung cancers that are driven by specific changes in oncogenes. These lung cancers tend to be addicted to these oncogenes. Such fusion-driven NSCLCs are treated with targeted therapies that block the effect of the oncogenes. However, the cancer inevitably comes back because the tumors become resistant. Traditionally, fusion-driven NSCLCs have not been successfully treated with immunotherapy. Dr. Schenk is testing how these cancers can be treated with immunotherapy through another immune pathway—the innate immunity pathway.


Early Detection Award

Claudio Scafoglio, MD, PhD
Claudio Scafoglio, MD, PhD
University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
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.


Anil Vachani, MD
Anil Vachani, MD
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
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.


VA Research Scholar Award

Harold Bien
Harold Bien, MD, PhD
Stony Brook University/Northport VA Medical Center, Stony Brook, NY
How KRAS mutations affect gene expression in lung cancer

Michael Green, MD
Michael Green, MD
University of Michigan/Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI
Addressing hepatic siphoning to enhance immunotherapy efficacy in veterans

Jennifer Lewis, MD, MS, MPH
Jennifer Lewis, MD, MS, MPH
Vanderbilt University Medical Center/VA-Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, TN
Measuring provider engagement in lung cancer screening

Manali Patel, MD
Manali Patel, MD
Stanford University Medical Center/Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Stanford, CA
Ensuring precision-medicine delivery for veterans with lung cancer

LUNGevity/Janssen R&D Health Equity and Inclusiveness Research Fellow Award

Eduardo Nunez, MD
Eduardo Nunez, MD
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
Improving lung cancer screening adherence among underserved populations

LUNGevity/Janssen R&D Health Equity and Inclusiveness Junior Investigator Award

Neel Chudgar, MD
Neel Chudgar, MD
Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY
Investigating incidental pulmonary nodules in underserved communities

Melina Marmarelis, MD
Melina Marmarelis, MD
The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Disparities in NSCLC molecular testing

EGFR Resisters

Christine Lovly, MD, PhD
Christine Lovly, MD, PhD
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
Targeting Drug Tolerant States + DNA Damage to Block Osimertinib Resistance

Despite high tumor response rates, patients treated with EGFR targeted therapies, such as osimertinib, inevitably develop disease progression. Mechanisms of drug resistance remain incompletely understood on both a genomic and proteomic level. The objective of Dr. Lovly’s project is to find new targeted treatments and drug combinations that can tackle cancer evolution and osimertinib resistance.


Helena Yu, MD
Helena Yu, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
Molecular Characterization of Lineage Plasticity

As a mechanism of resistance to EGFR inhibitors, cancers can change histology from adenocarcinoma to small cell or squamous cell lung cancer. Once this happens, EGFR inhibitors are no longer effective treatment; there are no strategies currently available to prevent or reverse transformation after it has occurred. Dr. Yu will use advanced molecular techniques to identify genetic changes that contribute to transformation. Understanding these genetic changes will identify biomarkers that can be utilized to develop treatments to prevent and reverse transformation.