Advancements in Lung Cancer Research
Dr. Jeffrey Engelman, a member of the American Lung Association Research Team and a recipient of a 2011 Lung Cancer Discovery Award, discusses the advancements within the lung cancer research field
Jeffrey E.: I decided to work on lung cancer about 15 years ago. It wasn't a complicated decision. At that time, and still, lung cancer was causing more deaths than any other cancer type. When I first started out, there were no targeted therapies, there were no genetics, there was no immunotherapy. Now we approach each patient with a huge sense of optimism that we're going to be able to figure out something that's going to really help this patient in a dramatic way.
One of the most exciting areas of research that we have ongoing right now is in the field of targeted therapies. These are therapies that are attacking specific genetic mutations in the cancer and we now know that there are very effective therapies for cancers that have specific genetic mutations and that drugs that inhibit those proteins can give really nice responses, induce remissions in patients. So, I'm very hopeful for the future of lung cancer research. I'm very optimistic. We're in a position now that we've never been in before where laboratory discoveries are impacting patient care in a very straightforward, clear, and dramatic way. The discoveries that are made in laboratories throughout the country are having a huge impact on patient outcomes. So, the entire landscape is different today than it was just 10 years ago. I'm extremely excited at the pace of advances that have improved patients' lives is growing and growing.
The critical thing right now and the limiting thing right now is really funding. We've seen a decrease in funding from the NCI and our government. And it's really been philanthropies like ALA, which have supplied the type of resources we need to be creative and to try some out-of-the-box experiments that will hopefully get us much closer to a cure or at least very, very long-term remissions in the near future.
Approved by Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 24, 2017.