Free ME From Lung Cancer and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Announce Joint Award Winner


Deb Violette                                                                                                     Becky Bunn, MSc
Free ME From Lung Cancer, President/CEO                                               Public Relations Manager | 207-215-9035                       | +1 720-254-9509

Free ME From Lung Cancer and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Announce Joint Award Winner
Dr. Eva Koziolek from Germany awarded for innovative research for early lung cancer detection

DENVER, CO — Free ME From Lung Cancer (FMFLC) and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) today announced the first ever winner of the FMFLC-IASLC Foundation Joint Fellowship Award for the Early Detection of Lung Cancer. The FMFLC-IASLC Joint Fellowship Award supports novel, innovative and translational research with the potential of having a high clinical impact on the early detection of lung cancer.


Dr. Eva Koziolek, DSc, PhD in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences, born in Landsberg/Warthe, Poland and living in Germany, won for her research titled: “A novel biomarker for diagnosis and treatment of lung pre-malignancy.” The main purpose Dr. Koziolek’s research is the pre-clinical evaluation of a novel diagnostic biomarker and therapeutic target for lung pre-malignant lesions. She will work with Principle Investigator Claudio Scafoglio, Assistant Professor, Division of Pulmonary Care and Critical Care Medicine at UCLA.


“Free ME from Lung Cancer is excited to collaborate with the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer on this exciting and innovative research that Dr. Eva Koziolek has developed,” said Deb Violette, President and Founder of FMFLC. “Clearly researchers are advancing and closing in on lung cancer with new and innovative treatments and diagnostic equipment so that patients can live longer and better lives. This is a time for hope.”


The objective of this new, two-year FMFLC-IASLC award is fund research that will deliver a meaningful and measurable result for the early detection of lung cancer and that has a high probability of near-term benefit to lung cancer patients or individuals at risk. Drs. Koziolek and Scafoglio will test the possibility of targeting sodium dependent glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2) for diagnostic imaging of lung pre-malignant lesions and for targeted chemoprevention/cancer interception with FDA-approved SGLT2 inhibitors.


“At the IASLC, we truly value partnerships and the ability to collaborate with other organizations who work toward the same objectives,” said Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD and CEO of the IASLC. This Joint Fellowship Award allows the development of innovative research. Without this partnership, we might have missed this incredible opportunity to support Dr. Koziolek and her team. The more we work together, the more we can accomplish together. Thank you Deb Violette and the FMFLC Board of Directors.”


More information about Dr. Koziolek’s research

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related death; there is great need for early diagnosis and prevention strategies. We have recently discovered a novel biomarker that is specific for the very first stages of lung cancer development and that can aid the early diagnosis of lung cancer. This biomarker is a glucose transporter, SGLT2, which allows pre-malignant cells to accumulate the glucose they need for their growth, and is therefore required for the first steps of lung cancer development.


We are able to detect the activity of this glucose transporter by positron emission tomography (PET) by administering a radioactive form of the glucose molecule, Me4FDG, which is specifically transported by SGLT2, and therefore will accumulate in the pre-malignant lesions that have this transporter. While clinical trials are on course to use Me4FDG in lung cancer patients, here

we propose to use pre-clinical models to test the ability of PET imaging to identify lesions that are not cancerous yet but are precursors of cancer (pre-malignant lesions); we already know that these lesions have the SGLT2 transporter, but we need evidence that we can image these lesions with PET imaging in order to start clinical trials in individuals who are suspected to have lung pre-malignancy.


Moreover, we have shown that some drugs that specifically block the SGLT2-dependent glucose accumulation in the cells are able to starve the pre-malignant cells of glucose, thus delaying the development of cancer. These drugs, that have already been approved by the FDA for the treatment of diabetes, could be re-purposed as prevention agents for individuals with lung pre-malignancy. Our PET imaging strategy will help identify those individuals whose pre-malignant lesions rely on SGLT2

for glucose supply, and who therefore will be likely to benefit from the SGLT2 inhibition treatment.


About Free ME From Lung Cancer

Free ME from Lung Cancer is the only nonprofit based in Maine dedicated solely to raising money for lung cancer research, early lung cancer screening for high risk patients who do not have insurance and provide radon air abatement systems to single family low income homeowners.

About International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
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 more than 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 and follow us on Twitter @IASLC. 


The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Foundation (IASLCF) is a global organization dedicated to breakthrough lung cancer research and the study of lung cancer. Founded in 2014, the IASLCF provides fellowships and grants to researchers all over the world. The IASLCF’s objective is to advance the discovery of new ways to conquer lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies to help extend patient lifespans and give patients hope. Donations to the IASLCF support the education of research fellows - who are the next generation of lung cancer physicians and scientists. To date, the IASLC and the IASLCF have given nearly $3.5 million to lung cancer research. Visit for more information.



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September 13, 2018