2011 Grant Recipients

During the 2011 grants cycle, LCRF received 87 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 were awarded to the following investigators.

2011 Scientific Merit Award


grant2

Principal Investigator:

Adam Bass, MD

Research project:

Finding new therapeutic targets in squamous lung cancer

The investigator has discovered a new oncogene, SOX2, associated with squamous cell lung cancer. The grant will support the work to identify the essential co-factor needed to allow the gene to function which is not yet known. Knowledge of this target could potentially lead to more effective therapy for the cancer.


2011 Grant Recipients 

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 research has identified a potential way in which lung cancer cells not only become resistant to treatment with radiation or drugs, but also how they develop the ability to metastasize. Dr. Welsh’s research studied those mechanisms in detailed models, with the aim of applying this new information to reduce therapeutic resistance and to potentially block the development of distant sites of disease.


University of Minnesota

Principal Investigator:

Daniel Saltzman, MD, PhD

Research project:

Immunotherapy for Lung Cancer Delivered by Bacteria

Dr. Saltzman used bacterial carriers to deliver immunotherapy stimulants to kill lung cancer cells. He used bioengineered salmonella bacteria that have already been removed of their toxic effects to carry the potentially effective cytokines to the lung cancer cell targets.


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Principal Investigator:

Jamie Ostroff, PhD

Research project:

Supporting the Effective Disclosure of Lung Cancer Diagnosis by Smokers to Family and Friends

Smokers are often stigmatized as carrying personal responsibility for the disease when diagnosed with lung cancer. This leads to increased stress and coping difficulties during diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Ostroff studied the prevalence of this setting, created an interventional tool to assist in the disclosure of the diagnosis in smokers, and tested this intervention in clinical settings.


Beth Israel Deaconess/Harvard Medical School

Principal Investigator:

Ming Chen, PhD/Pier Paolo Pandolfi, MD, PhD

Research project:

The role of DOK 2 L138S in lung cancer susceptibility

Study of a lung cancer suppressor gene that when altered may lead to higher rates of lung cancer particularly in smokers.


Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School

Principal Investigator:

Donald Kufe, MD

Research project:

Development of a new therapy for lung cancer that has become resistant to current drugs

This grant extends previous LCRF support to study the MUC-1 oncoprotein, which is often found in high levels in lung cancer that are associated with shorter survival and resistance to common current treatments. Inhibitors to MUC-1 will be now evaluated in animal models and early human clinical trials to see if they are effective in decreasing the growth of these aggressive cancers.


Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Principal Investigator:

Anthony Faber, PhD

Research project:

Understanding the PI3Kinase pathway in lung cancer

The PI3Kinase pathway is a critical central regulator f cancer cell growth and survival. He will investigate several inhibitors of the pathway in lung cancers that have specific gene mutations as a method to predict which therapies would be most effective in such patients.


MD Anderson Cancer Center/University of Texas

Principal Investigator:

Humam Kadara, PhD

Research project:

Study of the ETS-2 oncoprotein in lung cancer patients who have never smoked

The grant will study this protein in patients with lung cancer who have never smoked where preliminary results imply it is more common than in smokers. If confirmed, the grant will explore the impact of the protein on various pathways within the cell attempting to associate the findings with effective therapy. The findings could lead to specific recommendations for patients with this protein.


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Principal Investigator:

Jamie Chaft, MD

Research project:

Can specific biomarkers (SNP’s) in a lung cancer specimen identify patients likely to respond to chemotherapy?

The grant will collect data from lung cancer patients attempting to identify markers that are associated with resistance and response to commonly used chemotherapy drugs in lung cancer. Ideally a predictive score could be used to assist clinicians in deciding which patients may have best chemotherapy responses and lead to considering alternative options otherwise. The model is based on recent success in applying the score to patients with urologic cancers.


Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Principal Investigator:

Christina Addison, PhD

Research project:

Testing the efficacy of various drug combinations in lung cancer with EGFR expression

90% of patients with lung cancer have high levels of EGFR yet the majority do not have significant response to EGFR inhibitors. This grant will study some of the co-factors responsible for blocking the expected effects. Knowledge of the presence and action of these co-factors could be used to identify patients who are not candidates for such therapy and lead to alternative options.


Rush University Medical Center

Principal Investigator:

David Sher, MD, MPH

Research project:

Quality of Life and Costs of Care for patients receiving stereotatic radiation for lung cancer

Some patients with early stage lung cancer receive stereotactic radiation therapy (high doses of RT given over 3-5 treatments) as an alternative to surgery. The grant will study this group of patients in regard to quality of life and costs of care compared to the alternative. As more patients become diagnosed with early stage lung cancer, it is becoming critical to comparative differences of treatment options.


Ohio State University

Principal Investigator:

Erica H. Bell, PhD

Research project:

Understanding the relationship between a common mutation in lung cancer and treatment response

This grant will study the mutation involving BRG1 which has been described in 20-30% lung cancers. The abnormality will be evaluated in terms of its impact on cancer cell growth and also how it affects the response to drugs for the treatment of lung cancer. Further knowledge of this mutation may lead to specific treatment recommendations for patients with this mutation.


University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Principal Investigator:

Carol S. Lutz, PhD

Research project:

Is there a difference in a common metabolic pathway in lung cancer compared to normal cells?

The regulation of the COX-2 pathway is a complicated vital pathway for all cells. The grant will study potential differences in lung cancer cells compared to the normal mechanism. Deeper understanding of these differences could lead to interventional opportunities for treatment.


University of Chicago

Principal Investigator:

Ralph Weichselbaum, MD

Research project:

Targeting the JAK/Stat axis to improve radio and chemosensitivity of lung cancer

This grant expands support of prior LCRF funding to study the potential of inhibitors to a common mutation found in lung cancer as a means of improving the response to radiation and chemotherapy. By decreasing potential resistance to such treatments in patients with this abnormality, it is hoped improved treatment outcomes will occur.


University of Kentucky

Principal Investigator:

Esther P. Black, PhD

Research project:

How do certain mutations affect the development of lung cancer metastases?

This a renewal of a LCRF grant to continue studying the effect of specific mutation changes in adenocarcinomas of the lung (miRNA’s) as it relates to the tendency for the cancer cells to metastasize to distant locations. Understanding of this mechanism is critical in designing more effective therapy options.


University of Louisville

Principal Investigator:

Jorge Gomez-Guitterez, PhD

Research project:

Using viral therapy as a platform for lung cancer therapy

The grant extends LCRF funding for gene based therapy models using viral transfer for lung cancer. It is hoped this highly specific directed therapy could achieve effective elimination of lung cancer cells with potentially less side effects compared to traditional methods. This grant will study the additive benefit of an additional viral vector to earlier work.


University of Pennsylvania

Principal Investigator:

Xianxin Hua, MD, PhD

Research project:

Treatment of aggressive lung cancer with a novel combination of drugs

Lung cancer patients with a mutation called K- RAS have aggressive tumors that are resistant to commonly used treatments. The grant will study the effects of interfering with several preliminary mechanisms that lead to the K-RAS mutation as a means of blocking this mutation and causing more effective elimination of the lung cancer.


University of California Irvine

Principal Investigator:

Sergei Grando, MD, PhD

Research project:

Treatment of lung cancer using inhibitors of nicotine receptors

The grant supports the study of blocking nicotine receptors that are known to be involved in transforming normal cells into lung cancer in some cases. The impact of this inhibition will be studied as a potential opportunity for therapy for lung cancer.


University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Principal Investigator:

Puneeth Iyengar MD, PhD

Research project:

Identification of method to predict which lung cancers will be associated with weight loss and appetite loss

Cachexia is a condition associated with many lung cancers characterized by significant weight loss, appetite decrease and overall weakness. This condition is often associated with lower rates of treatment response compared to other patients. The grant will use animal models to study potential predictive markers for the condition which could lead to clinical preventative measures in such patients during the cancer treatment period.


Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Principal Investigator:

Jun Qian, PhD

Research project:

Study of a common mutation in squamous cell lung cancers

The grant will explore more details regarding their on-going interest in a mutation of the 3Q chromosome found in many lung cancers. It has been described as a mutation that causes increased growth and survival advantages to the cancer cells. Better understanding of the impact of this mutation could lead to potential inhibitors of this effect.