LUNGevity funds translational research in both early detection and targeted treatment of lung cancer in order to have a significant impact on overall survival of patients as well as improve the quality of life for those diagnosed with the disease.
Award categories include the following.
The goal of our Career Development Program is to train and retain the next generation of lung cancer researchers. These awards recognize outstanding scientists early in their careers, encouraging their continued development toward leadership in the field by supporting their innovative research projects.
Awardees serve as nonvoting members of LUNGevity’s distinguished Scientific Advisory Board for the terms of their awards and get experience in reviewing grants and learning about the peer review process. We also provide professional opportunities such as science communications training and a formal mentorship program with members of our Scientific Advisory Board.
Projects with a focus on either early detection or therapeutics are funded through this program.
Since its inception in 2012, the Career Development Award Program through 2020 has supported 29 talented researchers.
- 17 awardees have graduated from the program
- 8 of the graduates have already secured independent federal research funding
- 75 publications have been generated by our Career Development Program Awardees
Health Equity and Inclusiveness Research Award Program
The long-term goal of the Health Equity and Inclusiveness Research Award Program is to train a new generation of lung cancer researchers from underrepresented minority communities who are dedicated to both translational and clinical research. These awards aim to bridge the gap in funding as well as workforce development.
Introduced in 2021, the Health Equity and Inclusiveness Research Awards include the Health Equity and Inclusiveness Junior Investigator Research Award and the Health Equity and Inclusiveness Research Fellow Award, both of which support early-stage lung cancer researchers from underrepresented populations in the biomedical research workforce.
The Health Equity and Inclusiveness Junior Investigator Research Award supports physician-scientists interested in conducting lung cancer clinical research and bridging health disparities by engaging underserved communities and underrepresented minorities.
The Health Equity and Inclusiveness Research Fellow Award Program supports fellows who belong to underrepresented minorities in STEM who are interested in lung cancer research.
Funded projects are expected to have a direct impact on the early detection of lung cancer or the outcomes of lung cancer or to provide a clear conceptual or experimental foundation for the future development of methods of early detection and/or individualized treatment, including through targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
Ethnic and racial minority representation within clinical and research-related professions is currently a major issue, with black men making up less than 3% of physicians in 2020. As healthcare inequity continues to be a major problem within underserved communities, having increased access to clinicians who understand their unique needs can play a pivotal role in bridging this gap.
—Robert Winn, MD, VCUMC Cancer Center Director and LUNGevity board member
Veterans Affairs Research Scholar Award Program
The long-term goal of the Veterans Affairs Research Scholar Award is to promote research within a VA system both to leverage the VA’s lung precision oncology program (LPOP) and to foster a new generation of researchers invested in learning about lung cancer in a highly underserved community in the US.
Introduced in 2021, the Veterans Affairs Research Scholar Award Program supports investigators interested in lung cancer research within the Department of Veterans Affairs. Funded projects are expected to have a direct impact on veterans at risk or with lung cancer, or to provide a clear conceptual or experimental foundation for the future development of methods of screening/early detection and/or individualized treatments including surgical, radiation, targeted, or immune-based therapies. In addition, the proposed research must have relevance to the veteran population.
Lung cancer within the veteran populations is high, with approximately 7,700 new cases diagnosed every year. I am incredibly pleased to see LUNGevity’s commitment to helping us improve the quality of care that we can deliver to veterans who develop lung cancer, often many years after their service on military bases and in the field of battle where they are exposed to various toxic and carcinogenic materials.
—Drew Moghanaki, MD, MPH, Atlanta VA Medical Center/Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University School of Medicine and member of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board
Early Detection Research Award Program
The long-term goal of our Early Detection Research Award Program is to noninvasively find and treat lung cancer early and save lives. Our awardees are answering important questions that address unmet needs in the early detection of lung cancer:
- How can we find lung cancer early when it is most treatable?
- How can we noninvasively determine if the cancer is aggressive or indolent (which ones need medical intervention and which do not)?
- How do we know which people are at highest risk for lung cancer and should be monitored more vigilantly?
- How can we catch lung cancer early in people who are at low risk (eg, never-smokers)?
Early Detection projects funded to date fall into the following categories.
LUNGevity, in collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer, and the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE, has funded two research teams with a focus on a novel approach to early detection: lung cancer interception, catching precancerous cells and blocking them from turning into cancer cells. Finding lung cancer early, when it is most treatable, will save thousands of lives. Learn more about the first-ever Lung Cancer Interception Research Awards.
Targeted Therapeutics Research Award Program
The long-term goal of our Targeted Therapeutics Research Award Program is to help people with a lung cancer diagnosis live longer and healthier lives. LUNGevity awardees are at the forefront of precision medicine — bringing the right therapy, in the right dose, to the right patient, at the right time — by answering these important questions:
- How can we match the right patient to the right therapies for maximum effectiveness and minimum side effects?
- How do we overcome resistance to therapies so that patients can benefit from them longer?
- How do we best sequence/combine therapies for maximum effect?
- How do we build on the early successes of immunotherapy?
Projects funded to date fall into the following categories.
Lung Cancer Interception Research Awards
LUNGevity has co-funded two first-of-their-kind awards that take a novel approach to finding lung cancer early, when it is most treatable. These research awards focus on lung cancer interception—catching precancerous cells and blocking them from turning into cancer cells. The goal of these interdisciplinary and multi-institutional awards studies is to find noninvasive, widely available diagnostic and early detection tools that will dramatically change outcomes for people with lung cancer.
LUNGevity’s research goal is to find better ways to detect, diagnose, and now intercept lung cancer in its earliest stages. In collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer and American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE, these awards build on LUNGevity’s ten years of investment in early detection lung cancer research.
The SU2C-LUNGevity Foundation-American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team (2018-2022) will develop diagnostic tools, such as nasal swabs, blood tests, and radiological imaging, to confirm whether lung abnormalities found on chest imaging are benign lung disease or lung cancer. To protect against recurrence of disease that has already been successfully treated, new blood tests will help identify patients at the earliest stages of recurrence, enabling timely interventions such as immunotherapy.
- SU2C-LUNGevity Foundation-American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team: Intercept Lung Cancer Through Immune, Imaging, & Molecular Evaluation (InTIME)
- Funding: $5 million
- Leader: Avrum Spira, MD, professor of medicine, pathology and bioinformatics, and director of the Cancer Center at Boston University-Boston Medical Center
- Co-leader: Steven Dubinett, MD, associate vice chancellor for research at UCLA and director of the lung cancer research program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
The SU2C-LUNGevity Foundation-American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Translational Research Team (2018-2019) has developed a lung cancer interception assay (LCIA) that can be used in conjunction with low-dose CT scans, based on blood-based assays that examine circulating tumor cells and circulating tumor DNA. After completing pilot testing as part of this Translational Research Grant, the team plans to move the LCIA forward to larger, prospective clinical trials.
- SU2C-LUNGevity-American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Translational Research Team: Blood-based Early Interception of Lung Cancer.
- Funding: $2 million
- Leader: Lecia Sequist, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine, and director of the Center for Innovation in Early Cancer Detection (CIECD) at Massachusetts General Hospital.
- Co-leader: Maximilian Diehn, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiation oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine
LUNGevity Foundation has been partnering with patient-led lung cancer advocacy groups—the ALK Positives and the EGFR Resisters—to support research that focuses specifically on unmet needs in the treatment of their particular types of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The ultimate goal of the research, which is selected and funded by these groups, is to transform ALK-positive lung cancer and EGFR-positive lung cancer into either chronic, manageable conditions or curable conditions.
ALK Positive/LUNGevity Lung Cancer Research Award Program
ALK-positive lung cancer is a type of NSCLC in which the ALK gene is fused with, or attached to, a part of another gene. The fused gene produces a unique ALK protein that promotes abnormal, unchecked cell growth. About 5% of lung cancer patients have the ALK mutation. While there are currently five FDA-approved targeted therapies to treat ALK-positive lung cancer, the cancer inevitably recurs because the cells become resistant to the effects of the targeted therapies. Thus, there is a huge unmet need for additional treatment options for ALK-positive lung cancer patients.
ALK Positive—a group of 2,000+ ALK-positive patients and their caregivers in 42+ countries who are raising significant funds for research—and LUNGevity Foundation have partnered to support high-impact research that seeks to transform the future for patients affected by ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer. This is the first group of ALK-positive patients to directly influence the direction of research that will, one day, save their lives.
Funded projects are expected to have a direct impact on the outcomes of patients with ALK-positive lung cancer, but innovative proposals that address other unmet needs in the ALK-positive lung cancer space are also invited for submission. Applicants are encouraged to propose projects that utilize the resources of the ALK Positive members, which include their available histories, opinions, tissues, bodily fluids, and any other aspects of their condition.
EGFR Resisters/LUNGevity Lung Cancer Research Award Program
EGFR-positive lung cancer is a type of NSCLC in which the EGFR gene is mutated, promoting abnormal, unchecked cell growth. About 10%-15% of lung cancer patients have the EGFR mutation. While there are currently five FDA-approved targeted therapies to treat EGFR-positive lung cancer, the cancer inevitably recurs because the cells become resistant to the effects of the targeted therapies. Thus, there is a huge unmet need for additional treatment options for EGFR-positive lung cancer patients.
EGFR Resisters—a group of 2,000+ EGFR-positive patients and their caregivers in 70+ countries who are raising significant funds for research—and LUNGevity Foundation have partnered to support high-impact research that seeks to transform the future for patients affected by EGFR-positive non-small cell lung cancer.
A funded project is expected to have a direct impact on the outcomes of patients with EGFR-positive lung cancer, but innovative proposals that address other unmet needs in the EGFR-positive lung cancer space are also invited for submission.