2010 Grant Recipients

During the 2010 grant cycle, LCRF received 62 grant submissions from leading cancer centers throughout the country. As a result of the LCRF Medical Advisory peer review, 15 new grants totaling $750,000 were awarded to the following investigators.

2010 Scientific Merit Award 


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Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Principal Investigator:

Donald W. Kufe, MD

Research project:

Development of a New Therapy for Lung Cancer Resistant to Existing Therapies

Dr. Kufe’s study explored the mechanism by which a new compound likely to be tested in humans can destroy lung cancer cells resistant to current drugs. An understanding of these pathways could help scientists identify patients who are most likely to benefit from these cancer-killing compounds.


2010 Grant Recipients 

University of Pittsburgh

Principal Investigator:

Christopher Bakkenist, PhD

Research project:

Targeting Lung Cancer by Inhibiting Pathways of DNA Repair

Dr. Bakkenist’s study identified ways to block a cellular pathway that appeared to be commonly associated with lung cancer cell growth. A better understanding of this blocking effect could lead to a new therapy for lung cancers. This grant continues prior support from LCRF. In February of 2011, Dr. Bakkenist was awarded a $1.8 million Research Project Grant (RO1) from the National Cancer Institute.


University of Florida

Principal Investigator:

Bradford S. Hoppe, MD

Research project:

How Does a New Form of Radiation Therapy (Proton Therapy) Cause an Immune Response to Lung Cancer?

It is now recognized that radiation therapy can cause an autoimmune effect against lung cancer cells, which could possibly enhance cell destruction beyond the radiation effect itself. For his research, Dr. Hoppe studied this mechanism relative to proton therapy, which is an emerging type of radiation treatment. His findings could lead to predictions on which patients may respond more effectively to radiation therapy.


American College of Chest Physicians

To support the 3rd ACCP Lung Cancer Guidelines Conference in 2011.


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Principal Investigator:

Matthew Meyerson, MD, PhD

Research project:

Understanding Genetic Mutations in Lung Cancer

To study genes that are frequently mutated in lung cancer as possible targets for creating improved therapy for lung cancer. This grant will support work that has been previously supported by the LCRF.


Duke University Medical Center

Principal Investigator:

Michael J. Campa, PhD

Research project:

Identifying an Immune Response in Patients with Lung Cancer

This lab will explore their recent discovery of an immune marker that appears to predict patients with lung cancer who do not demonstrate a tendency for their cancer to spread outside of the lung. By better understanding how this mechanism may work, it may be possible to use this knowledge for more effective outcomes of care.


Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Principal Investigator:

Yixuan Gong, PhD

Research project:

A Study of How Common Mutations in Lung Cancer Genes may Cause this Cancer

They will study the associated effects of the two most common gene mutations in lung cancer. A deeper understanding of how these gene abnormalities affect cell activities may lead to insights of more successful therapy.


Pennsylvania State University

Principal Investigator:

Arun Sharma, PhD

Research project:

Creating a New Drug for Lung Cancer

A new class of drugs with early evidence of positive effect in lung cancer cell growth will be tested in animal models to better understand how it is working and what subtypes of lung cancer might be most affected.


Stanford University

Principal Investigator:

Viswam S. Nair, MD

Research project:

Studying the Genetic Nature of Lung Cancer in Patients Who Have Very Positive PET Sans at the Time of Diagnosis

PET scans are commonly used in patients who have a diagnosis of lung cancer to stage the extent of their disease. Patients with high PET scan uptake often have more aggressive disease than patients with lower levels of uptake. This study will evaluate genetic differences between such patient groups as a means of potentially identifying factors that lead to different natural history of the disease.


University of Chicago Medical Center

Principal Investigator:

Ralph R. Weichselbaum, MD

Research project:

Understanding Genetic Markers in Lung Cancers as Potential Ways to Improve Response to Therapy

To study how micro RNA’s regulate sets of genes that are associated with aggressive forms of lung cancer. This understanding could lead to therapeutic opportunities to interfere with these relationships and cause cell destruction.


University of Kentucky

Principal Investigator:

Esther P. Black, PhD

Research project:

A Study of the Genetic Characterization of Lung Cancer that Could Affect the Tendency to Metastasize

They will explore the interactions of cells called tumor associated macrophages. These cells are thought to affect the ability of a lung cancer cell to grow beyond its local environment. Better understanding of the immune function of these cells and their effect on the genetic makeup of lung cancer cells may lead to new therapy options.


University of Louisville

Principal Investigator:

Jorge G. Gomez-Gutierrez, PhD

Research project:

A New Model for Viral Therapy for Lung Cancer

Their research focuses on a new method for potentially more effective viral gene transfer to treat lung cancer. Their work represents a model for highly specific targeted therapy aimed at interrupting specific cell pathways unique to lung cancer cells thus possibly avoiding damage to non-cancer cells.


University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Principal Investigator:

John V. Heymach, MD, PhD

Research project:

Understanding What Genetic Mutations in Lung Cancer are Functionally Important

There has been a large increase in genetic mutations identified in lung cancer cells compared to normal cells. Many of these gene changes are inter-related and dependent upon each other. This grant request proposes to apply a technique that could characterize the most significant gene alterations that affect cell function and growth. If successful, this could potentially lead to better stratification and prioritization of gene targets for research in lung cancer.


University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Principal Investigator:

Humam Kadara, PhD

Research project:

Understanding the Genetic Signature of Lung Cancer in Non-Smokers

Non-smoker lung cancer is the 7th leading cause of death worldwide. There is strong evidence that the genetic makeup of such cancers differs from that of smokers and this grant will support more detailed evaluation of these differences.


University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Principal Investigator:

James W. Welsh, MD

Research project:

Developing a New Method of Reducing Resistance to Lung Cancer Therapy

Recent discoveries have identified a potential way that lung cancer cells not only become resistant to treatment with radiation or drugs, but also develop an ability to develop metastases. This proposal will study that mechanism in detailed models with the aim of applying this new information to techniques to reduce resistance of the cancer to effective therapy but also to potentially block the development of distant sites of disease.