Drs. Backman and Bharat, and Drs. Byers and Gibbons, Receive LUNGevity 2015 Translational Research Grants

LUNGevity Continues to Fund Impactful Research to Improve and Extend Patient Lives
Media Contact: 

Aliza Bran
(202) 414-0798

WASHINGTON, September 2015 – LUNGevity Foundation today announces the recipients of the 2015 Translational Awards program, which includes Early Detection and Targeted Therapeutics grants. The program funds impactful research that finds lung cancer earlier and treats it more effectively, thereby improving patient outcomes in the near term. Each grant is in the amount of $600,000 over the three-year course of the award term, renewable in the second and third years based on progress made.

LUNGevity granted its Early Detection Award to Vadim Backman, PhD, and Ankit Bharat, MBBS, of Northwestern University for their research into developing a low-cost lung cancer screening approach for a high-risk population. The two-tiered screening approach they will test has already proven highly successful in cervical cancer, reducing mortality by 90%.

The 2015 LUNGevity Targeted Therapeutics Award funded a project by Lauren Averett Byers, MD, and Don L. Gibbons, MD, PhD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to investigate the blocking of a protein receptor to reverse tumor growth and metastasis, drug and chemotherapy resistance, and immunosuppression in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.  

“Drs. Backman and Bharat’s research will help make early detection more accessible and affordable, and Drs. Byers and Gibbons’ research will build on emerging understanding of metastasis and the immune system’s role in fighting lung cancer,” says Andrea Ferris, president and chairman of LUNGevity Foundation. “Funding research that translates directly into early detection and more effective treatments is LUNGevity’s top priority and the cornerstone of our plan to create a world where no one dies of lung cancer.”

Under the guidance of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board, a group of 16 prominent scientists and researchers, LUNGevity ensures that grants are awarded to the researchers whose proposals demonstrate the greatest potential for finding lung cancer at its earliest, most treatable phase, as well as extending and improving lives for people living with a diagnosis of lung cancer.

In addition to the 2015 Translational Awards, LUNGevity awarded grants in its Career Development program.

LUNGevity’s Scientific Research Program is supported by the American Lung Association, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, a Janssen Research & Development Program Award, Upstage Lung Cancer, and individual donors.

For interviews with LUNGevity President Andrea Ferris and/or Senior Vice President, Research and Education, Susan Mantel, please contact Aliza Bran at (202) 414-0798 or abran@susandavis.com.

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 leading cancers (colorectal, breast, and prostate) 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