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First-Ever Scientific Research Awards Funded by ALK Positive in Partnership with LUNGevity Foundation

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Patient support group ALK Positive and LUNGevity Foundation today announced the three recipients of the new ALK Positive Lung Cancer Transformational Research Award. This award, driven by ALK Positive—a group of more than 1,000 ALK-positive lung cancer patients and their caregivers in 41 countries—supports high-impact research that seeks to quickly improve outcomes for the 4% of lung cancer patients who have tested positive for a mutation in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene and has the potential to transform ALK-positive lung cancer into a chronic condition.

The ALK Positive Award represents the first time that LUNGevity Foundation, the premier private funder of lung cancer research in the U.S., and ALK Positive have worked together to change outcomes for people diagnosed with ALK-positive lung cancer. ALK Positive is the foremost group of ALK-positive patients to directly influence the direction of research that will, one day, save their lives. Each of these two-year awards is for up to $200,000, with monies raised by ALK Positive.  Although the awards are specifically for ALK-positive lung cancer research, they have the potential to benefit lung cancer research in general.

The three projects selected aim to understand how immunotherapy can be used for ALK-positive patients. To date, the success of lung cancer immunotherapy has been restricted to advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients whose cancers do not have any driver mutations such as ALK. These new projects, which will uncover why immunotherapy has not been successful in treating ALK-positive lung cancer and test new immunotherapy approaches in ALK-positive lung cancer, include:

Characterization of anti-ALK immunologic responses in ALK-positive NSCLC: Mark Awad, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Overcoming innate immune resistance in ALK-rearranged lung cancer: Justin Gainor, MD,   Massachusetts General Hospital

Targeting the complement pathway in ALK positive lung cancer: Raphael Nemenoff, PhD,  University of Colorado Denver, AMC and DC

“We are thrilled to be a part of the grant selection process and fund such cutting-edge research in the field of immunotherapy for ALK-positive lung cancer. These projects represent the direction in which we want to go. Our voice matters because this research will impact the lives of those in our community,” explains Phil Trahan, president of ALK Positive. “LUNGevity has an exceptional reputation and is a major private funder of lung cancer research in the U.S. We are excited to partner with them on these important projects.”

“LUNGevity is proud to be partnering with ALK Positive to identify and drive research projects that have the potential to quickly improve outcomes for ALK-positive patients,” says Andrea Ferris, president and CEO of LUNGevity Foundation. “We’re excited that these projects combine the patient voice with the scientific rigor demanded of such critical research, and we are hopeful that they will lead to saved lives.” 

Read the full press release.

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