Drs. Joshua Bauml, Wei-Chu Victoria Lai, and Aaron Lisberg receive prestigious LUNGevity 2019 Career Development Awards

LUNGevity funds 8th class of exceptional young researchers to advance the field of lung cancer research
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: 

Linda Wenger
lwenger@LUNGevity.org
(973) 449-3214

WASHINGTON, DC (August 15, 2019) — LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s leading lung cancer-focused nonprofit organization, announced today the recipients of its 2019 Career Development Awards (CDA) for lung cancer research.  These coveted awards fund critical lung cancer research projects and offer the recipients world-class mentorship by LUNGevity’s prestigious Scientific Advisory Board.

LUNGevity is proud to support the following 2019 Career Development Award researchers:

Joshua Bauml, MD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and Abramson Cancer Center, Phase II study of pembrolizumab and itacitinib (INCB39110) in NSCLC. Dr. Bauml’s research group will test the efficacy of an immunotherapy and targeted therapy combination treatment in enhancing the immune response in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

Wei-Chu Victoria Lai, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Overcoming chemoresistance through epigenetic modifications in SCLC. Dr. Lai’s laboratory will test whether addition of a novel drug (an epigenetic modulator) to chemotherapy for extensive-stage SCLC prevents the patients from developing resistance to the chemotherapy.

Aaron Lisberg, MD, University of California, Los Angeles, Intratumoral CCL21-gene modified dendritic cell with pembrolizumab in NSCLC. Dr. Lisberg’s team will test the efficacy of a combination of immunotherapy treatments—an immune checkpoint inhibitor and modified immune cells derived from patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

“We are very pleased to support these accomplished young investigators bringing forward novel therapeutic combination strategies for lung cancer,” notes Charles Rudin, MD, PhD, Professor and Chief, Thoracic Oncology Service, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and chair of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board. “Our funding of this year’s group of awardees will help make progress in addressing both chemotherapy and immunotherapy resistance, critical issues for lung cancer patients.”

Each of these prestigious three-year awards is for $100,000 per year, renewable in the second and third years based on research progress. Awardees serve as non-voting members of LUNGevity’s distinguished Scientific Advisory Board for the terms of their awards. Awardees are mentored by senior lung cancer experts at their own institutions as well as by experts from the Scientific Advisory Board. They also receive training in effective science communications.

“By funding young investigators, LUNGevity keeps outstanding scientists, still early in their careers, in the lung cancer space. We work closely with these researchers with the hope of seeing them become the next generation of scientific superstars,” says Dr. Upal Basu Roy, LUNGevity Vice President of Research. “The CDA program encourages their continued development in the field of lung cancer research to grow a strong pipeline of dedicated lung cancer researchers.”

Under the stewardship of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board, a group of 24 prominent scientists and researchers, LUNGevity ensures that grants are awarded to those researchers whose proposals demonstrate the greatest potential for extending and improving lives of lung cancer survivors.

“Of the ten past awardees who have graduated from the program, eight have already secured independent federal funding to establish their laboratories and continue their impactful research,” Dr. Basu Roy noted. “We look forward to seeing the discoveries the new class of investigators make benefit our community.”

LUNGevity is the only lung cancer organization with a programmatic focus on early detection and a robust Career Development Award Program. Our researchers are working on finding a better way to detect lung cancer, and to better diagnose, treat, and prevent its recurrence. The foundation’s overall research program, including CDA awards, is a crucial factor in moving the science forward to improve outcomes for people living with lung cancer.

LUNGevity’s Scientific Research Program is supported by the American Lung Association, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, The Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation, Upstage Lung Cancer, the Schmidt Legacy Foundation, and individual donors.

About LUNGevity Foundation

LUNGevity is the nation's leading lung cancer organization investing in lifesaving, translational research and providing support services and education for patients and caregivers. LUNGevity’s goals are three-fold: (1) accelerate research to patients, (2) empower patients to be active participants in their treatment decisions, and (3) remove barriers that patients face in accessing the right treatments.

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. LUNGevity’s comprehensive resources include a medically vetted website, a toll-free HELPLine in partnership with CancerCare®, a unique Lung Cancer Navigator app, peer-to-peer mentoring for patients and caregivers (LUNGevity LifeLine), and survivorship conferences. LUNGevity also helps patients find and navigate clinical trials through our Clinical Trial Finder tool, a Clinical Trial Ambassador program, and participation with EmergingMed.

Our vision is a world where no one dies of lung cancer. For more information about LUNGevity Foundation, a four-star Charity Navigator organization, please visit www.LUNGevity.org.

About Lung Cancer in the U.S.

  • About 1 in 16 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime
  • More than 228,000 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 19% of all people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive 5 years or more, BUT if it’s caught before it spreads, the chance of 5-year survival improves dramatically

 

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