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Michigan Researcher Joins American Lung Association Research Team

Lung Association expands research investment to $8.7 million, making headway on its commitment to double its investment in research

(November 20, 2019) - DETROIT

For more information please contact:

Jill Thompson
[email protected]
312-940-7001

Today, the American Lung Association announced its new research team, which includes Venkateshwar Keshamouni, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan. This year, the organization has also increased its research investment to $8.7 million, through awards for both our Airways Clinical Research Center (ACRC) Network and its innovative Awards & Grants program. This announcement comes at an important time, as November is both Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Awareness Month. 

The Awards and Grants Program provides investigators with the funds, at all levels of their career, to conduct novel and promising research to prevent, treat and even cure lung cancer and lung disease. The ACRC is the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers dedicated to asthma and COPD treatment research that promises to have a direct, positive impact on patient care. 

Research projects funded by the Lung Association are carefully selected through rigorous scientific review and represent the investigation of a wide range of complex issues to help combat and reduce the suffering and burden of lung disease. 

Dr. Keshamouni received the Lung Cancer Discovery Award for his project, titled, “NK Cell-mediated Immunotherapy against Lung Cancer.”

Millions of cells are estimated to shed into circulation by primary tumors, less than 0.1 percent of cells successfully spread to distant sites to establish metastases that is responsible for less than 90 percent of cancer deaths. To date, focus was on understanding how a small proportion of cells escape host immune surveillance to metastasize but not on the mechanisms by which immune system contributes to eradicate more than 99 percent of tumor cells. Based on strong preliminary data, Dr. Keshamouni proposes a novel mechanism by which a key immune cell type (natural Killer [NK] cells) present in the body specifically targets spreading tumor cells and prevent metastasis. Specific aims of this proposal are defining the role of a protein called CADMI that mediates this tumor cell killing by NK cells and testing strategies to enhance CADM1 expression in tumor cells and also to boost NK cell functions by modulating receptors that recognize CADM1, for the prevention of lung cancer metastasis.

See project overviews of all funded projects at Lung.org/research-team.

For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health and the Lung Association Research Team, contact Jill Thompson at mailto:[email protected] or 312-940-7001. 

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About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

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