Dr. Pitroda and his team will develop a biomarker signature that can predict which patients are the most likely to benefit from an immunotherapy-radiation therapy combination. The ultimate goal is to determine which patients are likely to benefit from this combination treatment.
Cells in the respiratory tract are usually stacked in an orderly fashion. As lung cancer develops, the cells get “un-stacked” and their shapes change, giving them the ability to grow and spread to other parts of the body. Dr. Vadim Backman from Northwestern University is utilizing a new technology called Partial Wave Spectroscopy for seeing those cells. With the LUNGevity Early Detection Award, he will check how cells taken from the cheeks of stage I lung cancer patients reflect these early changes with the ultimate goal of using partial wave spectroscopy technology for early detection of lung cancer.
Dr. Ma has identified mutations in the protein c-Met that may provide lung tumor cells the ability to metastasize. Dr. Ma is studying the role of c-Met and its genetic alterations in lung adenocarcinoma to better understand their functional implications.
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are a class of proteins that are central to the survival of cells, in particular those under stress. Inhibiting HSPs makes cells very sensitive to cell death under stressed conditions (e.g., during chemotherapy). Dr. Salgia is studying the role of HSP27 in lung cancer to develop targeted therapies that are effective against it.