American Lung Association and LUNGevity Foundation Announce $3 Million Research Partnership to Intercept Lung Cancer

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, with someone diagnosed approximately every two minutes. In a collaborative effort to end this devastating disease, the American Lung Association and LUNGevity Foundation have joined forces to invest $3 million over the next three years in research aimed at intercepting lung cancer – catching precancerous cells and blocking them from turning into cancer cells. 

This on-going partnership brings together leading scientists dedicated to investigating early molecular and other changes that lead to cancer development, with the ultimate goal of stopping lung cancer before it begins. By focusing on early detection and intervention, the research aims to significantly improve survival rates and outcomes for patients.

"Early detection of lung cancer is crucial to saving lives. By investing in research to intercept lung cancer at its earliest stages, we have the potential to revolutionize how we approach this disease and improve outcomes for patients,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. 

"Continuing our partnership with the American Lung Association to help stage-shift lung cancer underscores our commitment to advancing research that will make a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by the disease. Together, we are harnessing the power of scientific innovation to drive progress in interception strategies and potentially cure lung cancer,” said Andrea Ferris, President and CEO of LUNGevity Foundation.

The partnership will fund research co-led by Dr. Avrum Spira, MD, MSc, and Dr. Steven Dubinett, MD, PhD, under the project titled “Intercept Lung Cancer Through Immune, Imaging & Molecular Evaluation InTIME.” This research aims to establish a timeline of pre-cancerous cell evolution into malignant cancer, utilizing cutting-edge technologies such as robot-assisted bronchoscopy to collect longitudinal samples from patients suspected to have lung cancer. Dr. Spira, Global Head of Interventional Oncology at Johnson & Johnson and Professor of Medicine at Boston University and Dr. Dubinett, Dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, are leaders in the field of lung cancer research.

"This project represents an evolution of our ongoing efforts to understand and intercept lung cancer before it progresses," said Dr. Spira. "By unraveling the molecular and immune mechanisms underlying lung cancer development, we can develop targeted strategies for early detection and intervention."

The partnership builds upon previous collaborations, including research funded by American Lung Association, LUNGevity Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer, which has yielded significant findings in lung cancer interception. Notable achievements include mapping the pre-cancer genome, the discovery of enzymes and proteins associated with pre-malignant cells, offering potential targets for treatment, as well as insights into immune cell activity in premalignant lesions. Partial funding was provided by the Thomas G. Labreque Foundation.

Through initiatives like the American Lung Association Research Institute Accelerator Program and the LUNGevity Early Lung Cancer Center, this partnership aims to accelerate progress in lung cancer interception research and pave the way for personalized treatments for patients.

For more information on the American Lung Association and LUNGevity Foundation, visit and

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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