Dr. Avrum Spira, LUNGevity Scientific Advisor, Co-Develops Test for Early Detection of Lung Cancer

Genomic Test May Lower Costly and Risky Procedures for Intermediate-Risk Patients
Media Contact: 

Linda S. Wenger
(973) 449-3214

WASHINGTON, May 2015 – A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine led by a member of the LUNGevity Scientific Advisory Board has validated a new tool that will help many patients suspected of having lung cancer avoid unnecessary invasive procedures.

Avrum Spira, MD, MSCI, of Boston University School of Medicine discovered a pattern of gene activity in the cells that line a patient’s airways that help determine which people who test positive for lung cancer through imaging tools like spiral computed tomography (CT) can be monitored rather than undergo a needle biopsy or surgery. Used together with bronchoscopy, the test provides over 90% sensitivity for detecting lung cancer. At present, current and former smokers between the ages of 55 and 80 are being encouraged to have low-dose CT scans for lung cancer, and this test will improve the diagnostic accuracy of following up on this population.

"We're excited about the implications of this study,” added Dr. Spira. "With the ability to test for molecular changes through noninvasive measures, we can rule out the disease earlier and give peace of mind to many people facing a lung cancer diagnosis.”

“LUNGevity Foundation is honored to have Dr. Spira as an advisor to the foundation’s Scientific Research Program,” said Andrea Ferris, president and chairman of LUNGevity Foundation. “He is truly at the forefront of scientific advances in early detection of lung cancer. LUNGevity is the only lung cancer organization firmly committed to funding projects that will find lung cancer at an earlier stage when it is most treatable. We look forward to working with Dr. Spira and the other esteemed members of our Advisory Board to support additional research into this vitally important area of early detection. Finding the disease earlier in all populations will be pivotal to helping people with lung cancer live longer and better.”                                                                                                                

For more information on LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.LUNGevity.org.

About Lung Cancer

  • 1 in 15 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime
  • More than 221,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year
  • About 60%-65% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers
  • Lung cancer takes more lives than the next three cancers (colorectal, breast, and pancreatic) combined
  • Only 17% of all people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive 5 years or more, BUT if it’s caught before it spreads, the chance for 5-year survival improves dramatically

About LUNGevity Foundation

LUNGevity Foundation is firmly committed to making an immediate impact on increasing quality of life and survivorship of people with lung cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as by providing community, support, and education for all those affected by the disease. Our vision is a world where no one dies of lung cancer. For more information about LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.LUNGevity.org.