Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer Patients To Get Boost From Research by “Young Investigators”
The National Lung Cancer Partnership has announced the 2012 recipients of their Young Investigator Research Grants. The awards were developed “to support lung cancer researchers early in their careers and ignite their interest in the field.” The research will benefit mesothelioma patients and lung cancer patients as the scientists search for treatments focused on killing cancer cells and preventing metastasis of the aggressive diseases.
Pleural mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer that is almost always caused by asbestos exposure and is found in the outer lining of the lungs called the mesothelium. While pleural mesothelioma affects the outer lining of the lungs, lung cancer is a malignancy in the lung itself. The two pulmonary cancers are often difficult to distinguish; however, the treatments for lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma are often very similar.
This year’s grant recipients will receive $100,000 total distributed over two years. Since the beginning of the Lung Partnership’s research grants program in 2005, over $3 million has been awarded to support lung cancer research.
This year’s grant recipients include:
- Trever Bivona, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Bovina will be focused on determining whether the chemotherapy drug erlotinib can be more effective through activation of a gene called AXL in cancer patients with the mutation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene. Mesothelioma patients are sometimes treated with erlotinib and other chemotherapy agents known to inhibit EGFR growth.
- Shadia Jalal, MD, Assistant Professor, Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Jalal will seek to understand the role of RAD51, a protein important to DNA repair, in metastasis of cancer to find ways to target the protein, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for people with metastatic lung cancer.
- Don Nguyen, PhD, Assistant Professor, Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center. Metastasis and chemo-resistance to lung cancer and mesothelioma may be due to cancer stem cells. Dr. Nguyen seeks to identify the molecules marking these cancer stem cells so that they can be easily identified and ultimately use the information to develop a method to assess the effectiveness of a therapy for an individual patient over time.
The awards are available to clinical and basic science fellows and junior faculty to “ensure effective translation of basic and behavioral research discoveries into patient therapies to reduce lung cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality.”
Many of the previous grant winners’ findings may contribute to improved survival rate and early detection for lung cancer and mesothelioma patients.