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Drs. Mehmet Altan, Valsamo Anagnostou, and Zofia Piotrowska Receive 2017 LUNGevity Career Development Awards


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LUNGevity Foundation's Career Development Awards (CDA) for lung cancer research fund critical lung cancer research projects and offer the recipients world-class mentorship by LUNGevity’s prestigious Scientific Advisory Board.

“LUNGevity created the CDAs to identify outstanding scientists early in their careers and encourage their continued development in the field of lung cancer research to grow a strong pipeline of dedicated lung cancer researchers,” says Charles Rudin, MD, PhD, Professor and Chief, Thoracic Oncology Service, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and chair of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board. “We work closely with these researchers with the hope of seeing them become the next generation of scientific superstars.”

LUNGevity is proud to support the following researchers its 2017 Career Development Awards:

Mehmet Altan, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Identification of predictive markers of toxicity to immunotherapy.  Dr. Altan will work to develop a way to predict which patients are most likely to develop serious side effects from some types of immunotherapy – these side effects can limit use of the treatments. Once patients can be flagged as high-risk for tissue damage, measures can be taken to limit the tissue damage proactively; patients may then experience better outcomes with their immunotherapy.

Valsamo Anagnostou, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University, Dynamics of neoantigen landscape during immunotherapy in lung cancer. Dr. Anagnostou will leverage an existing clinical trial to discover why some patients become resistant to immunotherapy and to get a handle on how to help them overcome the resistance.

Zofia Piotrowska, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Overcoming heterogeneity and resistance in EGFR-mutant NSCLC. Dr. Piotrowska intends to uncover the reason a subset of lung cancer patients develop resistance to their best option for treatment: a third-generation EGFR-blocking tyrosine kinase inhibitor drug. In addition, she will study a new combination of drugs in a clinical trial that may help patients who develop this type of drug resistance.

“We have seen a lot of great progress in treating lung cancer, and we still need to better understand how lung cancer develops resistance to drugs, and why some patients experience side effects from treatment,” notes Upal Basu Roy, PhD, MPH, director of LUNGevity’s translational science research program. “Our funding this year’s group of awardees will help make progress in facing these challenges and continue to improve outcomes for lung cancer patients.” 

Each of these prestigious three-year awards is for $100,000 per year, renewable in the second and third years based on research progress. Awardees serve as non-voting members of LUNGevity’s distinguished Scientific Advisory Board for the terms of their awards. Awardees are mentored by senior lung cancer experts at their own institutions as well as by experts from the Scientific Advisory Board.

Under the guidance of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board, a group of 21 prominent scientists and researchers, LUNGevity ensures that grants are awarded to the researchers whose proposals demonstrate the greatest potential for finding lung cancer at its earliest, most treatable phase, as well as extending and improving lives for lung cancer survivors. 

LUNGevity is the only lung cancer organization with a programmatic focus on early detection and a robust Career Development Award Program. Our researchers are working on finding a better way to detect lung cancer, and to better diagnose, treat, and prevent its recurrence. The foundation’s overall research program, including CDA awards, is a crucial factor in moving the science forward to improve outcomes for people living with lung cancer.

LUNGevity’s Scientific Research Program is supported by the American Lung Association, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, The Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation, Upstage Lung Cancer, and individual donors.

Read the full press release.

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