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Lung Cancer Research

Why We Need Research

Research provides hope and saves lives. This is especially true when it comes to lung cancer research. Lung cancer research can help develop better treatments, increasing the survival and quality of life for patients. Research can provide a better and longer future for those diagnosed with lung cancer as well and can also ultimately increase the number of survivors living with the disease.

The Lung Association supports lung cancer research so we can help prevent lung cancer cases, and failing that, prolong the lives of lung cancer patients. We have made some progress, but we plan to invest more, as lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

Our Lung Cancer Research Program

The American Lung Association is committed to funding lung cancer research. As part of our Awards and Grants Program, a large part of funds goes toward research on lung cancer prevention, treatment and quality of life. The primary goal of this lung cancer research program is simple: improve and save lives. The secondary goal is almost as important: To fund top-notch lung cancer researchers at important career crossroads to and gain long-term commitment to lung cancer research. Without the life-long dedication of lung cancer researchers and a large and active community of people trying to improve patients' lives, important and much-needed discoveries would be impossible.

What Research Is Being Done?

Thanks to the medical breakthroughs led by Lung Association researchers and their colleagues worldwide, our lung cancer researchers have made significant contributions to the field of lung cancer. For example, tumor testing and targeted therapies have helped advance the area of personalized treatment (finding the unique genetic makeup of a person's tumor and developing and using drugs that are designed to be most effective for that patient).

In 2017-2018, Lung Association researchers are studying things like:

  • How lung cancer can be intercepted.
  • Targeting lipid metabolism to overcome resistance to lung cancer immunotherapy.
  • Targeted Therapy: The Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Response of EGFR Mutant Lung Cancer.
  • Research that could determine if radiation during heart procedures causes women to have a greater chance of developing lung cancer compared to men.
  • Impact of Drug Resistance in Targeted Therapy—Identifying Mechanisms of Resistance.
  • Living with Lung Cancer: What Psychosocial Factors Promote and Hinder Adjustment to the Disease.

Lung Cancer Researchers

Below are some of our lung cancer researchers and their studies. Learn more about our current lung cancer research studies at Research Awards Nationwide.

  • Stephen Baylin, M.D.
    Novel Model Aids Understanding of How Smoking Causes Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Stephen Baylin is using a novel model to study how smoking causes lung cancer.
  • Trever Bivona, M.D., Ph.D.
    Defining New Targeted Therapy Approach for Lung Cancer Mutation
    American Lung Association researcher Trever Bivona is defining a new targeted therapy approach for patients with a certain form of lung cancer caused by mutation of a gene called NF1.
  • Melanie Blevins, Ph.D.
    Inhibiting the Formation of a Protein Complex to Treat Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Melanie Blevins is studying molecules called peptides that can inhibit the formation of the CtBP1 complex in cell culture.
  • Maria Cortez, Ph.D.
    Overcoming Lung Cancer Immunotherapy Resistance
    American Lung Association researcher Maria Cortez is studying changes in the metabolism of lipids (fats) in resistant tumors, and exploring how these changes influence the ability of lung cancer tumor cells to evade the immune system.
  • Gina DeNicola, Ph.D.
    Changes in Cell Signaling Pathway Could Shed Light on Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Gina DeNicola is studying the role of NRF2 mutation in both tumor initiation and progression. We will also investigate whether therapy that inhibits NRF2 itself or exploits NRF2 activation would eradicate NRF2 mutant tumors.
  • David Feldser, Ph.D.
    Targeting Molecular Pathway Could Lead to Lung Adenocarcinoma Treatment
    American Lung Association researcher David Feldser is studying one molecular pathway, known as the Rb Pathway, which commonly malfunctions in lung adenocarcinoma.
  • Mark Fuster, M.D.
    Disrupting Complex Sugars on Immune Cells Could Inhibit Growth of Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Mark Fuster is studying the mechanisms that govern the movement and maturation of dendritic immune cells that are dependent on HS, examining how the targeted molecular changes affect their movement and ability to interact with T cells.
  • Sharad Goyal, M.D.
    Does Radiation From Heart Procedures Increase Risk of Lung Cancer?
    American Lung Association researcher Sharad Goyal is investigating if radiation during heart procedures causes women to have a greater chance of developing lung cancer compared to men.
  • Taran Gujral, Ph.D.
    Genetic Mutation Could Help Predict Response to Lung Cancer Chemotherapy
    American Lung Association researcher Taran Gujral is validating the role of STK11 mutations in the response to gemcitabine in lung cancer cell lines and a STK11-deficient mouse model.
  • Khaled Hassan, M.D.
    Overcoming Resistance to Lung Cancer Drugs
    American Lung Association researcher Khaled Hassan is studying the mechanism of resistance to EGFR inhibitors, which will provide new targets for lung cancer treatment.
  • Hasmeena Kathuria, M.D.
    Shared Decision-Making in Lung Cancer Screening
    American Lung Association researcher Hasmeena Kathuria is studying the effect of adding a nurse-driven low-dose CT screening shared decision-making intervention to inpatient smoking cessation counseling among hospitalized smokers.
  • Jung-whan Kim, Ph.D.
    Protein May Hold Key to New Treatments for Squamous Cell Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Jung-whan Kim is testing if elevated GLUT1 is an essential contributor to the growth of squamous cell carcinoma and if targeting GLUT1 or glucose consumption can stop the growth of this disease.
  • Koichi Kobayashi, M.D., Ph.D.
    Targeting Two Mutations to Develop New Lung Cancer Therapies
    American Lung Association researcher Koichi Kobayashi is studying how impaired NLRC5 function and mutations in oncogenes work together using our lung cancer animal model.
  • Michelle Mendoza, Ph.D.
    Stopping Lung Cancer Cell Invasion
    American Lung Association researcher Michelle Mendoza is studying the mechanism by which lung cancers gain high levels of ERK activation and how ERK promotes lung cancer invasion.
  • Seyed Javad Moghaddam, M.D.
    Focusing on Gender Specific Cell-Signaling Pathways Involved in Lung Cancer Growth
    American Lung Association researcher Seyed Moghaddam is studying gender- and cell-specific signaling pathways that are involved in KRAS mutant lung cancer growth, and to target these pathways and ultimately develop personalized therapies for this fatal subtype of lung cancer.
  • Trudy Oliver, Ph.D.
    Treating Genetic Differences in Small Cell Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Trudy Oliver is building on discovery of a novel treatment for MYC-driven SCLC, to use human cells and mouse models to identify therapies that will specifically target MYCL-driven SCLC.
  • Lecia V. Sequist, M.D., MPH
    Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel, Lung Cancer Interception Translational Research Team: Lead Investigator
    Dr. Sequist is a member of the American Lung Association's Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. She is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.
  • Lecia V. Sequist, M.D., MPH
    Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel, Lung Cancer Interception Translational Research Team: Lead Investigator
    Dr. Sequist is a member of the American Lung Association's Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. She is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.
  • David Shackelford, Ph.D.
    Selectively Targeting Metabolic Needs Unique to Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher David Shackelford is studying precise therapies to inhibit tumor cell metabolism and growth in lung cancer.
  • Avrum Spira, M.D.
    Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team: Intercept Lung Cancer Through Immune, Imaging, & Molecular Evaluation (InTIME)
    Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team: Intercept Lung Cancer Through Immune, Imaging, & Molecular Evaluation (InTIME)
  • Srinivas Sridhar, Ph.D.
    Injectable Lung Cancer Therapy with PARP Inhibitors Could Better Target Tumor Cells
    American Lung Association researcher Srinivas Sridhar is using nanotechnology to develop and test two injectable nanoparticle formulations of olaparib.
  • Linda Van Aelst, Ph.D.
    Seeking Treatment to Stop Spread of Lung Adenocarcinoma
    American Lung Association researcher Linda Van Aelst is studying genes associated with organ-specific lung adenocarcinoma metastasis.
  • Noel Warfel, Ph.D.
    Blocking Enzyme PIM Kinase to Treat Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Noel Warfel is studying how PIM inhibitors inactivate Nrf2 in KEAP1-mutant tumors and to test the efficacy of PIM inhibitors in combination with currently approved therapies in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.
  • Hideo Watanabe, M.D., Ph.D.
    Understanding the Complexity and Variability of Lung Tumors
    American Lung Association researcher Hideo Watanabe is studying factors that are essential during the formation of the lung and control the identity of lung cells in adults.
  • Johnathan Whetstine, Ph.D.
    Identifying Genetic Factors Influencing Drug Resistance in Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Johnathan Whetstine is investigating the molecular basis for KDM4A modulation of these processes in lung cancer.
  • Henning Willers, M.D.
    Attacking Lung Cancer Before It Develops Drug Resistance
    American Lung Association researcher Henning Willers is studying how to attack lung cancer tumor before drug resistance and recurrence occur.
  • Timothy Williamson, M.A., MPH
    Helping Lung Cancer Patients Cope with Their Diagnosis and Treatment
    American Lung Association researcher Timothy Williamson is examining the impact of coping, social support, self-compassion, stigma, and regret on depression, physical symptoms, and sleep in lung cancer patients.

How You Can Be a Part of Research

Lung Cancer Registry

The Lung Cancer Registry is a database of medical information collected from thousands of lung cancer patients. Researchers study this health data to gain a better understanding of the disease, which can ultimately lead to better outcomes for patients.  By participating in the Registry, you not only will help advance lung cancer research, but you will also be able to learn about new clinical trial opportunities that may help in your own treatment program.

Learn more about the Lung Cancer Registry and how to sign up.

Lung Cancer Clinical Trials

Read questions and answers about clinical trials and see our Lung Association listing of current trials.

View our infographic Are clinical trials right for you? and download our checklist to help you talk with your doctor about clinical trials.

You can also search the Lung Cancer Clinical Trials Matching Service, provided by a partnership between the American Lung Association and EmergingMed. Patients can search for clinical trials that match their specific diagnosis and treatment history.

Find a Clinical Trial

Learn more about clinical trial programs in your area by searching our list and be sure to discuss with your doctor whether a clinical trial is right for you.

View Clinical Trials


    Approved by Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed October 27, 2016.

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