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Doctor tackles unknown lung cancer cause

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http://www.thelantern.com/media/paper33 ... antern.com

By: Heather Wagoner

Issue date: 11/4/05 Section: Campus

Article Tools: Page 1 of 1

November is cancer awareness month, and one Ohio State doctor is starting it off with a bang.

Dr. Sanford H. Barsky, chair of pathology at the College of Medicine, was recently awarded a $100,000 grant to further his study of an unknown cause of a type of lung cancer.

"It's a professional, personal and intellectual challenge to study this disease," he said.

Barsky said his research will study a possible link between the occurrence of lung cancer in subjects who have received a bone marrow transplant from the opposite sex, and subsequently developed bronchioloalveolar lung carcinoma (BAC).

"It's not apparently linked to smoking. It's coming from a cause we don't understand," Barsky said. "It tends to recur in multiple sites in both lungs and the idea is that the cancer might be coming from a cell in the bone marrow that migrates to the lungs."

Sheri Richardson, spokeswoman for the Central Ohio Division of the American Cancer Society, said approximately 8,000 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer in Ohio in 2005.

"Lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer, and it's a high priority to find a cure," she said.

The grant was awarded by Joan's Legacy: The Joan Scarangello Foundation to Conquer Lung Cancer.

Susan Mantel, the executive director of Joan's Legacy, said Joan Scarangello was a non-smoker who was diagnosed with lung cancer after repeated bouts of pneumonia did not resolve. She died at age 47.

The foundation was developed by the friends and family of Scarangello to fund lung cancer research in order to provide hope to other friends and family of lung cancer patients, hope they did not have when Joan was sick, Mantel said.

"Advocacy for lung cancer research is often left to the friends and family of lung cancer victims because the cancer is so deadly there are few survivors to advocate," Mantel said. "Those who do survive are so sick they can't be active."

Mantel said more than 60 percent of lung cancer patients never smoked or quit smoking.

She said the BAC type of cancer that Barsky will research has had little focus previously and is not a type of cancer that can be treated with surgery.

"We want to fund research to keep bright minds in the field," Mantel said. "If they can't get funding for lung cancer, they will go research in another area that is getting funding."

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