LUNGevity Announces 2012 Lung Cancer Research Grants

LUNGevity Foundation awards grants to five outstanding young lung cancer researchers for innovative research into early detection and targeted therapeutics

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- LUNGevity Foundation announced that it has awarded $500,000 in Career Development Awards for Translational Research to fund the research into early detection and targeted therapeutics for lung cancer of five exceptional young scientists. The current and future work of these talented researchers will help ensure continued progress against this cancer that kills more people than the next four cancers combined.

The Foundation supports the largest grant awards program of any lung cancer-focused organization in the United States. In addition to these new awards, LUNGevity and its partners are providing over
$2 million of additional funding to support ongoing projects, bringing the two-year funding total to more than $5 million.

2012 Career Development Awards for Translational Research were made to:

  • Jennifer Beane, Ph.D., Boston University, for "Biomarkers of Pre-malignant Disease Progression for Lung Cancer Detection"
  • Lauren Byers, M.D., University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, for "PARP1 as a Novel Therapeutic Target in Small Cell Lung Cancer" (Awarded with support from A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation and the Janice McArdle Cancer Research Foundation)
  • Mohamed Hassanein, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University Medical Center, for "Developing New Non-invasive Methods for the Diagnosis of Lung Cancer" (Awarded with support from the Janice McArdle Cancer Research Foundation)
  • Christopher Maher, Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis, for "Molecular Predictors of Outcome in Non-small Cell Lung Cancer" (Recipient of LUNGevity's Melissa Lumberg Zagon Founders' Award)
  • Viswam Nair, M.D., Stanford University, for "In-vivo and In-vitro Diagnostics to Improve Lung Cancer Care"

LUNGevity's Career Development Awards for Translational Research program was created with one goal: to identify a cohort of future research leaders who will keep the field of lung cancer research vibrant with new ideas. "LUNGevity's Career Development Awards give us another vehicle to ensure that researchers at the beginning of their careers have adequate support to continue and grow. We must attract and keep talented scientists in the field of lung cancer research if we are to make progress against this devastating disease, which kills over 160,000 people in this country each year," said Andrea Stern Ferris, President and Chairman of LUNGevity Foundation.

Awardees will receive $100,000 per year for a possible period of three years and participate in a structured mentoring program at their institutions as well as become ex officio members of LUNGevity's Scientific Advisory Board for the duration of the award.

Special thanks to Genentech for supporting the LUNGevity Career Development Awards Program.

The $2 million of second-year funding for ongoing projects includes continued support for the following early detection research:

  • Jeffrey A. Borgia, Ph.D., Rush University Medical Center, for "Autoantibody-based Biomarkers to Aid in the Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer"
  • York Miller, M.D., University of Colorado Denver, for "Biomarkers to Improve Clinical Assessment of Indeterminate Lung Nodules"
  • Suzanne Miyamoto, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, for "A System Biology Approach to Biomarkers for Early Detection of Lung Cancer" (Awarded in partnership with the Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation)
  • Edward Patz, M.D., Duke University Medical Center,for "Serum Biomarkers for the Early Detection of Lung Cancer" (Awarded in partnership with the Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation)

Second-year funding is also continuing to support these targeted therapeutics research projects:

  • David P. Carbone, M.D., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University Medical Center,for "Biomarkers for Personalizing Adjuvant Therapy in NSCLC – Increasing Cures"
  • Edward Gabrielson, M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, for "Examining LKB1 Status as a Biomarker for Response of Lung Cancer to Metformin"
  • Rebecca Heist, M.D.,  Massachusetts General Hospital, for "Identifying Tumor Genomic Changes in Lung Cancers" (Awarded with support from Upstage Lung Cancer)
  • John V. Heymach, M.D., Ph.D., University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center,for "Predictive Blood-based Markers of Response to VEGF Inhibitors in NSCLC" (Awarded with support from A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation)
  • Alexander Steven Whitehead, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, for "Folate-related Biomarkers as Predictors of Response to Pemetrexed Therapy"        

Over 226,000 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer in the U.S. this year, and 84 percent of lung cancer patients die less than five years after their diagnosis, yet government and corporate funding largely overlook lung cancer research. LUNGevity works to make up for this disparity by allocating private donations to translational research that can lead to breakthroughs in diagnosing and treating lung cancer.

The Foundation works with its Scientific Advisory Board, seventeen prominent and leading scientists and researchers, as well as additional experts to ensure that grants are awarded to the proposals with the greatest potential for saving lives. Under the guidance of the Advisory Board, chaired by Dr. Pierre Massion, Associate Professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, LUNGevity has become the nation's premier private grant-making organization funding research for the early detection and effective treatment of lung cancer.

About LUNGevity Foundation

The mission of LUNGevity Foundation is to have a meaningful impact on improving lung cancer survival rates, ensure a higher quality of life for lung cancer patients and provide a community for those impacted by lung cancer. It does so by supporting critical research into the early detection and successful treatment of lung cancer, as well as by providing information, resources and a support community to patients and caregivers.  

LUNGevity seeks to inspire the nation to commit to ending lung cancer.

For more information about the grants or LUNGevity Foundation, please visit

About Lung Cancer

  • 1 in 14 Americans is diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, regardless of gender or ethnicity
  • Lung cancer kills almost twice as many women as breast cancer and more than three times as many men as prostate cancer
  • About 55% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers
  • Only 16% 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

To schedule an interview with Andrea Stern Ferris or an award recipient, please contact Victoria Shapiro at (202) 414-0774 or [email protected]

SOURCE LUNGevity Foundation