International Lung Cancer Research Association Selects Hamilton, New Zealand Resident for Prestigious Lung Cancer Patient Research Advocate Program

International Lung Cancer Research Association Selects Hamilton, New Zealand Resident for Prestigious Lung Cancer Patient Research Advocate Program

Press Release
Feb 01, 2021

Chris Martin | 630-670-2745

DENVER- The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) has selected Hamilton, New Zealand resident Lily Huang as a participant for the Supportive Training for Advocates on Research and Science (STARS) Program as a Patient Research Advocate (PRA). 

The STARS program aims to help patient advocates evolve into patient research advocates—a distinction explained by a PRA’s ability to bring the patient voice to research-related efforts. PRAs work with clinicians and scientists to provide the patient perspective for lung cancer research and policy. 

Ms. Huang was diagnosed in November 2014 with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, at age 51. After two rounds of chemotherapy, her biopsy showed a ROS1 gene rearrangement, and her oncologist applied to Pfizer’s compassionate use program for her, which allows patients to gain free access to therapies that have not received regulatory approval. Ms. Huang gained access to crizotinib, which had not been approved for patients with ROS1 mutations.  Crizotinib can cost up to $6,000 per month for some patients. She took the treatment for 43 months before seeing any disease progression. Now Huang is back on Pfizer’s compassionate-use program for lorlatinib, which has shown benefit for patients with ALK mutations and is under study for ROS1. 

As a senior registered nurse specializing in treating patients who have cardiac-thoracic diseases or disorders, Huang continues to work full time as one of New Zealand’s most experienced nurses. Since her diagnosis, she continues to share her lung cancer experience and educates patients, scientists, and health professionals on early screening and testing. 

Despite being New Zealand's biggest cancer-related killer, lung cancer historically has received less than 5% of total cancer research funds per year. As part of her lung cancer journey, Huang has advocated for more investment in lung cancer research, and she has worked to raise awareness of the importance of lung cancer research.

STARS Mentors and PRAs will receive complimentary registration to attend the IASLC 2020 World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC), to be held virtually January 28-31 2021. The WCLC is the largest international conference specific to lung cancer. To prepare for WCLC, Mentors and PRAs will participate in communication learning labs through Research Advocacy Network, education sessions and meetings with key opinion leaders in the lung cancer community.

About the IASLC:

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization dedicated solely to the study of lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies. Founded in 1974, the association's membership includes nearly 7,500 lung cancer specialists across all disciplines in over 100 countries, forming a global network working together to conquer lung and thoracic cancers worldwide. The association also publishes the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the primary educational and informational publication for topics relevant to the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of all thoracic malignancies. Visit for more information. 

About the WCLC:

The WCLC is the world’s largest meeting dedicated to lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies, attracting more than 7,000 researchers, physicians and specialists from more than 100 countries. The goal is to increase awareness, collaboration and understanding of lung cancer, and to help participants implement the latest developments across the globe. The conference will cover a wide range of disciplines and unveil several research studies and clinical trial results. For more information, visit