TRENTON, NJ | October 19, 2023
The American Lung Association Research Institute announced it awarded $13.6 million in research grants to fund 129 innovative projects to advance today’s science to end lung disease tomorrow, including a project from New Jersey. Jessie Yanxiang Guo, PhD, from Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and New Brunswick resident, was awarded a $100,000 Lung Cancer Discovery Award, which is renewable for an additional year for a total of $200,000.
Lung research is critical because 1,019,000 people in New Jersey are living with lung disease and each year, millions of people are impacted by respiratory viruses like COVID-19 and influenza. Through the Awards and Grants Program, the Lung Association supports trailblazing research, novel ideas and innovative approaches. The funded researchers investigate a wide range of lung health topics, including asthma, COPD, lung cancer infectious lung diseases and more.
“We are honored to welcome Dr. Guo to join the elite American Lung Association Research Institute and our efforts to fundamentally transform lung health here in New Jersey and across the nation,” said Deborah Brown, Chief Mission Officer at the Lung Association. “Our research investment is key to unlocking solutions to alleviate the burden of lung disease. The Lung Association’s Awards and Grants Program promotes innovative research, collaboration, translation of discoveries, and scientific exchange to transform today’s science into tomorrow’s solutions. Because when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.”
A significant portion of lung cancer is a type called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC often involves mutations in genes like TP53, KRAS, and LKB1, and patients with KRAS mutations tend to have poorer outcomes with standard cancer treatments. Metabolic changes play a role in cancer development, not just within cancer cells but also in the overall body metabolism. The ketogenic diet (KD) is a dietary approach that alters metabolism by shifting energy production from sugar (glycolysis) to fat (lipid oxidation and mitochondrial respiration). Researchers have explored the use of KD as a potential supplementary treatment for cancer. Guo’s project will provide insights into how a KD can impact the growth and treatment of different types of KRAS-mutant NSCLC.
“The Ketogenic Diet has garnered interest as a dietary approach in cancer treatment. We anticipate that the insights we gain from our study could serve as valuable information for the development of Ketogenic Diet-based strategies in clinical trials for treating KRAS-mutant NSCLC,” said Dr. Guo.
This year, awards were given in different categories addressing many aspects of lung disease; ALA/AAAAI Allergic Respiratory Diseases Award, ALA/ATS/CHEST Foundation Respiratory Health Equity Research Award, Catalyst Award, COVID-19 Respiratory Virus Research Award, Dalsemer Award, Innovation Award and Lung Cancer Discovery Award. Research projects funded by the Lung Association are carefully selected through rigorous scientific peer review and awardees investigate a wide range of complex issues.
The Lung Association’s Research Institute includes the Awards and Grants program, and also the Airways Clinical Research Network, the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers dedicated to asthma and COPD treatment research. The Lung Association is currently accepting applications for its 2024-2025 research awards and grants cycle. For more information about the active research funding opportunities, visit Lung.org/awards.
For more information about the new grant awardees and the entire American Lung Association Research Team, visit Lung.org/research-team.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.
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