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.
Computed tomography (CT) has a high false-positive rate. Less than 5% of people with nodules found through CT actually have lung cancer. Cells from benign nodules differ from malignant ones in two ways: they have a normal number of chromosomes and they make the same proteins as normal lung cells. Dr. York Miller is taking advantage of these differences. His team is developing a sputum-based test to determine whether a nodule is malignant or benign. The test will help decide whether the nodule requires follow-up.
Dr. Tennis aims to identify biomarkers that signal whether a patient is likely to benefit from iloprost and pioglitazone, two drugs that have demonstrated promise in reducing NSCLC risk, and determine whether they work in a clinical trial setting.