Current Grants

The Lung Cancer Research Foundation's grant program provides critical seed support for cutting-edge scientific research on all cancers of the lung. This type of support builds proof of concept for researchers to apply for additional grant funding from universities and public sources. To learn more about this year's grant recipients, please scroll down.

2014 Scientific Merit Award

Warren Denning, PhD

University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Principal Investigator:

Warren Denning, PhD

Research project:

CAR Modified T Cells as a Novel Immunotherapy to Eliminate Lung Cancer

Dr. Denning’s research focus is investigating immunotherapeutic targets in lung cancer. Specifically, he is studying alterations in immune response in various mutational subsets of lung cancer; epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; and the acquisition of therapeutic-resistance during lung cancer progression. The Lung Cancer Research Foundation is supporting his work investigating the immune system in small cell lung cancer (SCLC), an aggressive malignancy accounting for around 15% of newly diagnosed lung cancer.

2014 Grant Recipients

During the 2014 grants cycle, LCRF received over 100 submissions from leading cancer centers around the world.  As a result of the LCRF Medical Advisory Peer Review, 20 new grants totaling $1,000,000 have been awarded to the  following institutions supporting the research work of the principal investigator listed.

During the 2014 grants cycle, LCRF received over 100 submissions from leading cancer centers around the world. Twenty grants totaling $1,000,000 were awarded to the following investigators.


Bruce Zetter, PhD

Boston Children’s Hospital

Principal Investigator:

Bruce Zetter, PhD

Research project:

Targeting Lung Cancer Resistance Through Prohibition I

Dr. Zetter and his team will compare these verified interactions between chemo-sensitive and resistant cells and will examine whether such interactions are crucial for conferring chemoresistance. The hypothesis is that PHBI mediates chemoresistance through scientific interactions with apoptosis-modulating proteins, leading to a state of reduced apoptosis and reduced drug sensitivity. The project will consequently focus on PHBI-interacting proteins that have known roles in apoptosis pathways.


Linda Malkas, PhD

City of Hope Medical Center

Principal Investigator:

Linda Malkas, PhD

Research project:

A Potential New Pathway for Treating Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)

Dr. Malkas’ research proposes three aims: 1) to establish a role for RS in SCLC 2) to evaluate caPep’s capactiy to obstruct caPCNA interactions/functions and promote higher levels of SCLC RS and DNA damage repair responses and 3) to determine caPep’s ability to promote enhanced SCLC sensitivity, especially in SCLC with MYC-amplification, in combination with targeted therapies.


Dan J. Raz, MD

City of Hope Medical Center

Principal Investigator:

Dan J. Raz, MD

Research project:

Utilization and Perceptions of Lung Cancer Screening Among Primary Care Physicians

This study seeks to understand the utilization and perceptions of lung cancer screening (LCS) among primary care physicians (PCPs), so that barriers to the adoption of LCS guidelines can be identified. Specifically, Dr. Raz seeks to identify perceptions of PCPs on the benefits and harms of LCS with low-dose CT (LDCT), their knowledge of existing guidelines, utilization of LCS with LDCT over the last 12 months, and barriers in their practice to LCS.


Mohamed Abazeed, MD, PhD

Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Principal Investigator:

Mohamed Abazeed, MD, PhD

Research project:

Identifying Non-responders to Traditional Therapy Using Lung Cancer Genetics

Dr. Abazeed will investigate and seek to understand the molecular mechanisms of progression to clinically significant lung cancer and develop predictive and prognostic markers to identify responders and nonresponders.


Donald W. Kufe, MD

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Principal Investigator:

Donald W. Kufe, MD

Research project:

Development of New Therapeutic Agents for NSCLC Resistant to Existing Therapies

Description:

Dr. Kufe and his team will further develop new NUCI-C inhibitors for effectiveness against NSCLC cells with EGFR or KRAS mutations growing in vitro and in animal models. The first-in-man MUCI-C inhibitor has completed Phase I of evaluation in patients with refractory solid tumors and, based on those results, this study will be positioned to further develop the next generation of these inhibitors alone and in combination for the treatment of patients with refractory NSCLC.

This project has received multiple year funding.


Xiaoyang Zhang, PhD

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Principal Investigator:

Xiaoyang Zhang, PhD

Research project:

MGA, a Novel Tumor Suppressor in Lung Cancer

Dr. Zhang’s study will seek to characterize the role of MGA mutations in lung adenocarcinoma. It will assess the effects of MGA inactivation on diverse cellular phenotypes, identify the MGA target genes, and compare them to the MYC targets. Finally, Dr. Zhang seeks to determine the mechanism by which MGA regulate the expression of its target genes and characterize its role in modulating MYC activity.


Yanis Boumber, MD, PhD

The Research Institute of Fox Chase Cancer Center

Principal Investigator:

Yanis Boumber, MD, PhD

Research project:

Evaluation of a New Class of Highly Tumor-Specific Drugs in Both Small and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

This study proposes mechanistic and preclinical studies of STA-12-8666, the lead member of a new compound class with significant promise for difficult-to-treat cancers. STA-12-8666 exploits the fact that stresses existing within tumors highly induce and activate heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90), as tumors become dependent on Hsp90 function.


Ross L. Cagan, PhD

Ichan School of Medicine Mount Sinai

Principal Investigator:

Ross L. Cagan, PhD

Research project:

Embracing Genetic Complexity in Personalized Fly Models of Lung Cancer

In this study, Dr. Cagan will use the fruit fly, Drosophila, to generate 15 lung cancer ‘patient avatars’ with each fly line reflecting the exomic sequencing of a single patient. Focusing on patients with mutations in EGFR family members, he will use these avatars to explore differences in tumor progression between tumors with different genomic profiles.


Christine L. Hann, MD, PhD

Johns Hopkins University

Principal Investigator:

Christine L. Hann, MD, PhD

Research project:

Developing a New Combined Targeted Therapy Treatment of Patients with Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)

Dr. Hann will use Bcl-2, Bcl-xL or dual Bcl-2/Bcl-xL specific small molecule inhibitors (“BH3-mimetics”) to determine whether targeting Bcl-2 or both Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL is required for the observed synergy of this combination. If successful, this work could lead to new and more effective treatment for patients with SCLC.


Nikhil Joshi, PhD

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Principal Investigator:

Nikhil Joshi, PhD

Research project:

Eliminating Immunosuppresive Immune Cells as a Therapeutic Approach to Lung Cancer Patients

This study will seek to prove the hypothesis that tumor-associated Tregs have non-redundant mechanisms by which they inhibit anti-tumor associated TLS, and these functions could be therapeutic targets.


Tuomas Tammela, MD, PhD

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Principal Investigator:

Tuomas Tammela, MD, PhD

Research project:

Modification of Lung Cancers Toward a More Drug-Responsive State

This study will test the role of the Wnt pathway in lung tumor initiation and progression, as well as the potential target of therapy. Dr. Tammela and his team will use small molecule inhibitors of Wnt synthesis or dual-promoter lentiviruses to silence key components of the pathway using RNAi.


Faye Johnson, MD, PhD

Yale University

Principal Investigator:

Faye Johnson, MD, PhD

Research project:

Mechnisms that Regulate Response to Targeted Agents in Lung Cancer

Dr. Johnson’s study seeks to define the mechanisms of susceptibility and resistance to PLKI inhibitors to lay the foundation for a clinical trial and advances in our understanding of PLKI. The future plans include validating these biomarkers prospectively in vivo in a co-clinical trial with diverse patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models and a biomarker-selected clinical trial.

This project has received multiple year funding.


Linde Miles

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Principal Investigator:

Linde Miles

Research project:

Complementary Screening Approaches to Identify Host Receptors of an Important Lung Cancer Targeting Virus

This project focuses around a virus that selectively infects and kills small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cells while sparing normal cells. The goal of the project is to identify the proteins important in viral infection using techniques that create libraries of cells with gene knockouts – and subsequently protein knockouts – of every gene in the human genome.


Sharon R. Pine, PhD

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Principal Investigator:

Sharon R. Pine, PhD

Research project:

A Novel Treatment for Lung Adenocarcinoma

Dr. Pine’s study will attempt to delineate the targeting of anti-Sox9 U I Adaptors to lung adencarcinoma cells and to determine the anti-tumor effects of anti-SOX9 U I Adaptors alone and in combination with standard chemotherapy in-vitro and in-vivo.


Victoria H. Wang, MD, PhD

The Regents of the University of California

Principal Investigator:

Victoria H. Wang, MD, PhD

Research project:

Understanding How Changes in the Cytoskeleton of Lung Cancer Cells Make Them Survive Better and More Resistant to Drugs

Preliminary data for this study implicates regulation of the cytoskeleton via the Rho-A-ROCK-myosin pathway as an important factor in this process. This study investigates the mechanism by which inhibition of this pathway promotes cellular survival to explore the use of myosin as a biomarker in predicting response to therapy and to identify pharmacological agents that may selectively target this cell population.


Ralph Weichselbaum, MD

The University of Chicago

Principal Investigator:

Ralph W. Weichselbaum, MD

Research project:

Ionizing Radiation Kills Lung Cancer Cells Through Rna-Dependent Activation of Interferons

Dr. Weichselbaum will investigate the RLR-dependent mechanism of IR-reponse and IFN production in lung cancer cells. Achievement of this goal will reveal a new, yet uncharacterized pathway of lung cancer cell response to genotoxic stress and will identify novel therapeutic targets for innovative treatment strategies.


Shibata, MD, PhD

The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

Principal Investigator:

Yoshiyuki Shibata, PhD

Research project:

New Types of Genetic Material Floating in the Blood May Help Screen for Lung Cancer

Dr. Shibata will analyze the microDNA population in lung cancer cell-lines and compare that to microDNAs from normal lung epithelium and from other cancer cell lines to establish that lung cancer can produce specific microDNAs. The study will also do the same with mircoDNA from lung cancer tissue and normal lung tissue.


John Brognard, PhD

University of Manchester

Principal Investigator:

John Brognard, PhD

Research project:

Identification of A Novel and Druggable Driver of Lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This project will analyze the importance of genetic dependence on TNIK is LSCC and test whether TNIK cooperates with SOX2.


Don Nguyen, PhD

Yale University

Principal Investigator:

Don Nguyen, PhD

Research project:

Targeting Protein Metabolism to Treat Metastatic Lung Cancer

Dr. Nguyen and his research team recently discovered a novel pathway that inhibits metastasis of lung adenocarcinoma (LuAd), the most frequent cancer sub-type. The aims of this project are to identify the molecular mechanism that links LASR and proteostasis to lineage de-differentiation in mestastatic LuAds, and to inhibit LuAd metastatic progression in vivo by perturbing the LASR.