Lung Cancer Research | American Lung Association

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Lung Cancer Research

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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 2018-2019, Lung Association researchers are studying things like:

  • How lung cancer can be intercepted.
  • Implementation of Lung Cancer Screening – clinical barriers to implementation.
  • Targeted Therapy: How cancer cells bypass inhibition of KRAS enabling us to identify optimal combination therapies
  • Research that could determine if radiation during heart procedures causes women to have a greater chance of developing lung cancer compared to men.
  • Targeting cancer metabolism in therapy-resistant EGFR mutant lung cancer.
  • Novel Treatments for Small Cell Lung Cancer.
  • Capitalizing on hospitalization to engage low SES smokers in LDCT screening

Lung Cancer Researchers

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

  • Mohamed Abazeed, M.D., Ph.D.
    Mapping and Exploiting the Subclonal Architecture of Lung Adenocarcinoma
    American Lung Association researcher Mohamed Abazeed has developed mathematical and experimental models to study the stratification of tumor subclones in topographic space and time.
  • Dennis Adeegbe, Ph.D.
    Boosting Immune Activity in the Fight Against Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Dennis Adeegbe is examining HDAC6 inhibition and Treg-targeting as an immunotherapeutic strategy for non-small cell lung cancer.
  • John Albeck, Ph.D.
    Learning How the Body Repairs Damaged Lung Epithelium
    American Lung Association researcher John Albeck is learning how the body repairs damaged lung epithelium.
  • Joseph Barbi, Ph.D.
    Will Blocking a Nerve Protein Help Stop Lung Tumor Growth?
    American Lung Association researcher Joseph Barbi is exploring how neuritin allows Treg accumulation and function in tumors, and we will determine if blocking neuritin can unleash the immune system to halt lung tumor progression.
  • Lisa Carter-Harris, Ph.D.
    Understanding Low Rates of Referral for Lung Cancer Screening
    American Lung Association researcher Lisa Carter-Harris is studying barriers to discussions and subsequent referral from the clinicians' perspective in order to develop effective interventions for high-risk patients that clinicians will integrate into their practice.
  • Limo Chen, Ph.D.
    Targeting Protein to Improve Immunotherapy for Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Limo Chen is targeting protein to improve immunotherapy for lung cancer.
  • Simon Cheng, M.D., Ph.D.
    Will Blocking Bmi1 Protein Improve Lung Cancer Immunotherapy?
    American Lung Association researcher Simon Cheng is looking into whether blocking Bmi1 protein will improve lung cancer immunotherapy.
  • Kristina Crothers, M.D.
    Communicating Results of Lung Cancer Screening to Patients
    American Lung Association researcher Kristina Crothers will determine patient factors associated with adherence to follow-up; assess patient understanding and preferences for methods of communicating results of lung cancer screening; and determine whether patients find an individualized report detailing the results of their lung cancer screening is acceptable, decreases distress and helps with understanding.
  • 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.
  • Pamela Hershberger, Ph.D.
    Reversing Drug Resistance in EGFR Mutant Lung Cancers
    American Lung Association researcher Pamela Hershberger is developing tumor targeted nanoparticles to combat EGFR TKI resistance.
  • Landon Inge, Ph.D.
    Targeting a Cellular Pathway to Treat a Type of Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Landon Inge has evidence that LKB1-deficient lung cancers rely on a specific pathway to assist in survival. Using novel model systems, we will demonstrate that targeting this pathway will lead to a new approach to treat LKB1-deficient lung cancer.
  • Venkateshwar Keshamouni, Ph.D.
    NK Cell-mediated Immunotherapy against Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Venkateshwar Keshamouni is 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.
  • Carla Kim, Ph.D.
    Using “Organoid” Model of Lung Cancer to Test Treatment
    American Lung Association researcher Carla Kim is uncovering the earliest vulnerabilities of lung cancer cells and their microenvironment.
  • Ji Yeon Kim, Ph.D.
    Targeting Hexosamine Pathway in an Aggressive Subtype of Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Ji Yeon Kim is targeting sugar molecule to see if it could lead to new lung cancer treatment.
  • Dan Landau, M.D., Ph.D.
    Using Fragments of DNA in the Blood to Detect Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Dan Landau developed a novel ultra-sensitive cancer DNA fragment detection method that identifies cancer at very low frequencies and enhances detection in up to two orders of magnitude (a factor of 100). These findings may lead to cancer detection by blood testing.
  • Piro Lito, M.D., Ph.D.
    Treating Lung Cancer with KRAS Mutation
    American Lung Association researcher Piro Lito is building our work describing the mechanism of action of these drugs, we will investigate how cancer cells bypass inhibition of KRAS and then identify optimal combination therapies, in order to maximize the effect of these drugs in patients.
  • Billy Loo, M.D., Ph.D.
    FLASH Radiation Therapy and Immune Response in Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Billy Loo is studying how a new radiation technology works with the immune system, and test its ability to enhance the impact of immunotherapy on lung cancer.
  • Edwin Ostrin, M.D., Ph.D.
    Enzyme May Play Role in Worsening Immune Function in Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Edwin Ostrin is investigating the role of KYNU upregulation in lung adenocarcinoma.
  • Griffith Parks, Ph.D.
    Using a Virus to Treat Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Griffith Parks is using a virus to treat lung cancer.
  • Laura Petrillo, M.D.
    Helping Patients with Lung Cancer Mutations Understand Treatment
    American Lung Association researcher Laura Petrillo will explore patients' understanding of what testing positive for a lung cancer mutation means for their life expectancy, and how doctors convey that information to patients.
  • Dmitri Petrov, Ph.D.
    Barcoding Genetic Changes May Give Insight Into Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Dmitri Petrov is investigating computational modeling of complex genotypes in lung cancer.
  • Sharon Pine, Ph.D.
    Treating PI3 kinase-mutant NSCLC by inhibiting DNA-dependent protein kinase
    American Lung Association researcher Sharon Pine is testing a novel way to treat squamous cell carcinomas that have a mutation in the gene called PIK3CA.
  • Shiladitya Sengupta, Ph.D.
    Using Nanotechnology to Target Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Shiladitya Sengupta is using nanotechnology to target lung cancer.
  • David Shechter, Ph.D.
    When the Writing Goes Wrong: Protein Arginine Methyltransferases in Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher David Schechter is testing, in lung cancer cells, specific drugs against enzymes, one of which is currently in phase I trials, in combination with a range of other drugs to understand how they could work in combination.
  • Jinjun Shi, Ph.D.
    Making Lung Cancer Responsive to Treatment for Other Cancers
    American Lung Association researcher Jinjun Shi is attempting to make lung cancer responsive to treatment for other cancers.
  • 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)
  • Tuomas Tammela, M.D., Ph.D.
    Investigating Role of Enzymes in Cancer Gene Amplification in Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Tuomas Tammela is trying to intercept lung cancer at its earliest stages.
  • Moon-Shong Tang
    Do E-Cigarettes Lead to Lung Cancer?
    American Lung Association researcher Moon-Shong Tang is examining E-cigarette smoke induced lung carcinogenesis.
  • Johanna Uthoff
    Lung Cancer Risk Assessment Using Quantitative Imaging
    American Lung Association researcher Johanna Uthoff plans to create a computer-aided-diagnosis tool using artificial intelligence techniques to predict a tumor's cancer risk.
  • Johnathan Whetstine, Ph.D.
    Chromatin Factors Impacting Lung Cancer
    American Lung Association researcher Johnathan Whetstine is investigating the role of enzymes in cancer gene amplification in lung cancer.
  • Nicole White, Ph.D.
    Insight Into How Lung Tumors Grow
    American Lung Association researcher Nicole White is studying genes involved in the promotion or suppression of the spread of lung cancer (metastasis).
  • Bora Youn, MPH, MS
    Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment in the Elderly
    American Lung Association researcher Bora Youn is examining the patterns of use, survival, and cost of novel treatments that are commonly used for advanced NSCLC patients receiving care in routine oncology practice.
  • Junran Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.
    Inhibiting Enzyme Required for Cholesterol Synthesis May Suppress Growth of NSCLC
    American Lung Association researcher Junran Zhang is looking into interruption of metabolism and DNA damage response in cancer therapy.

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


    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 24, 2017.

    Page Last Updated: November 14, 2018

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