AstraZeneca takes giant inflatable lung on the road for educational lung cancer tour

Imagine stepping inside a giant, 14-foot tall inflatable lung. Thanks to AstraZeneca, people in more than dozen U.S. cities will be able to do just that in 2020.

The centerpiece of the traveling “Lung Xperience” interactive display is the oversized anatomically correct lung, but it also includes information accessed as visitors walk through with headsets and handheld scanners. People can get information about things like the stages of lung cancer, the role of biomarkers and medical advances.

The experience debuted in 2019 with visits to four cities, and it expands this year to 14 cities; the list currently includes Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit. People not able to attend in person can get similar information, including an augmented reality app download, on the AZ website

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“In lung cancer, one of the constants is people do better if they’re diagnosed at an earlier stage. In addition, it’s really important that they have a complete diagnosis,” Kevin Lokay, AZ's U.S. immuno-oncology franchise head, said. “It’s much more inviting to learn about lung cancer when people see a 14-foot lung than looking it up online or reading patient education materials. It’s designed broadly to educate caregivers, consumers or people with cancer.”

The cities AZ chose for the LungXperience have high lung cancer epidemiology or high rates of later-stage diagnoses, he said.

AstraZeneca refocused on oncology in 2014 and has since delivered several new medicines including Imfinzi, Calquence, Lynparza and Tagrisso. In lung cancer, PD-L1 drug Imfinzi is approved to treat stage 3 lung cancer that can't be surgically removed, while Tagrisso is cleared as a therapy for EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer. Imfinzi is also currently under FDA priority review for use in first-line extensive-stage SCLC.

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With ongoing education like the LungXperience, AZ hopes to encourage people to take action earlier as well as erase some of the stigma that’s still associated with lung cancer.

“One of the underlying stigmas around lung cancer is that there’s nothing that can be done—that you should get your affairs in order, there’s not much hope,” Lokay said. “But that’s really changed over the past 10 years around the development of these (immuno-oncology) therapies.”