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Young Lung Cancer Investigators Awarded $200K to Improve Lung Cancer Outcomes

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Young Lung Cancer Investigators Awarded $200K to Improve Lung Cancer Outcomes
Funding aimed at combination therapies that increase the effectiveness of immunotherapy

Lung Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA) and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) have awarded a pair of two-year grants, generously funded in part by Bristol-Myers Squibb, to support research that will hopefully help lung cancer patients lead longer, healthier lives.

These young investigators are studying new lung cancer treatments generally known as combination therapies. These treatments aim to enhance the activity of currently available immunotherapy (the body’s own immune response) by combining it with other new treatments.

The grants were awarded to:

  • Kathryn Beckermann, M.D., Ph.D., is a research fellow, in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Her work focuses on increasing the response rate and effectiveness of immunotherapy by combining it with a second treatment that cuts off the blood supply to tumors. Dr. Beckermann is hoping the addition of this new drug combination will help the body be better able to fight the lung cancer tumors.
  • Zoltan Lohinai, M.D. Ph.D., is a pulmonary oncologist and researcher at the National Koranyi Institute of Pulmonology, in Budapest, Hungary. Dr. Lohinai's project will evaluate the interaction of bacteria, fungi and other organisms (collectively known as the microbiome) that normally live in the body (primarily in the GI tract) and lung cancer patients’ responses to immunotherapy. Current research might identify microbial and genetic factors that will help in selecting patients that are likely to benefit from immunotherapy.

“The IASLC is proud to join LCFA in providing these grants to two very promising young investigators. These important research projects will hopefully lead to encouraging results benefiting many lung cancer patients,” said Dr. Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD, CEO of IASLC.

“Combination therapy is so exciting for lung cancer patients because it provides more powerful tools in the fight against lung cancer,” said Kim Norris, LCFA President and Co-Founder.

To date, LCFA and IASLC have partnered to fund nearly $3 million in research grants.

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 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 www.iaslc.org for more information.

About LCFA

LCFA’s mission is the dramatic improvement in survivorship of lung cancer patients through the funding of transformative science, with the ultimate goal of curing the disease. Visit lcfamerica.org for the latest information and to donate.

May 15, 2018