2012 Grant Recipients

During the 2012 grants cycle, LCRF received 63 submissions from leading cancer centers around the world. Twenty grants totaling $1,000,000 were awarded to the following investigators.

2012 Scientific Merit Award


Niedherst Photo

Massachusetts General Hospital

Principal Investigator:

Matthew J. Niederst, PhD

Research project:

Overcoming therapeutic resistance in EGFR mutant NSCLC

Dr. Niederst studied the mechanisms of resistance to current therapies in patients with a common mutation in non-small cell lung cancer. His research focused on the population of resistant cells that transform into cells with small cell lung cancer features. Dr. Niederst’s findings could lead to improved outcomes in lung cancer treatment.


2012 Grant Recipients 

University of Pittsburgh

Principal Investigator:

Laura Stabile, PhD

Research project:

Aromatase Inhibitors for Lung Cancer Prevention

Dr. Stabile studied the effects of applying a commonly used group of drugs called aromatase inhibitors to decrease lung inflammation. Her results may further our understanding of lung cancer prevention in high-risk settings.


MD Anderson Cancer Center/The University of Texas

Principal Investigator:

Lauren Averett Byers, MD, MS

Research project:

Investigation of a DNA-Repair Protein, PARP1, as a Novel Therapeutic Target in Small Cell Lung Cancer

Dr. Byers’s research identified potential biomarkers of small cell lung cancer. This biomarker research will be used to develop individualized cancer treatments and a new class of therapeutic drug for SCLC patients.


Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Principal Investigator:

Matthew J. Niederst, PhD

Research project:

Overcoming Therapeutic Resistance in EGFR Mutant NSCLC

Dr. Niederst is one of the youngest recipients of LCRF grant funding. He received the highest award for 2012 and won the 2012 Scientific Merit Award. Learn more about Dr. Niederst’s research.


Boston Children’s Hospital

Principal Investigator:

Carla Kim, PhD

Research project:

Testing a novel therapeutic target in lung cancer

Study proposes to evaluate the functional effects of a specific protein in non small lung cancer as a potential target for a future drug.


Cancer Institute of New Jersey/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Principal Investigator:

Joseph R. Bertino, MD

Research project:

A new treatment that targets small cell lung cancers

The study will focus on a unique new drug for the treatment of small cell lung cancer that targets a critical pathway for the disease. Targeting the E2F mechanism has been unsuccessful in other studies, but this proposal considers a unique mechanism of action.


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Principal Investigator:

Adam Bass, MD

Research project:

Finding new therapeutic targets in lung squamous cell carcinoma

Renewal of a grant studying a particular oncogene that is critical for the growth of squamous cell lung cancer. It is a difficult target to affect directly, so further knowledge of pathways of action could lead to successful intervention of its effect.


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Principal Investigator:

Mary E. Cooley, RN, PhD

Research project:

Healthy Directions: A wellness intervention after curative treatment for lung cancer

Grant will develop and apply a multidisciplinary intervention program to improve healthy lifestyle traits in patients receiving curative treatment for lung cancer. Program outcomes will be assessed to determine the most effective features of the effort for potential use in the community through nursing practice.


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Principal Investigator:

Donald W. Kufe, MD

Research project:

Development of novel therapeutic agents for NSCLC resistant to existing therapies

Study to investigate the mechanism of resistance occurring in some patients with lung cancer after conventional treatment related to a specific gene mutation. This understanding could lead to more effective use of existing drugs as well as development of new agents.


H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Principal Investigator:

Melanie Mediavilla-Varela, PhD

Research project:

A2AR inhibition as a possible therapeutic strategy

Grant to study an important potential therapeutic target in the microenvironment surrounding lung cancer cells as an additional opportunity to improve treatment outcomes.


Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Principal Investigator:

Anthony Faber, PhD

Research project:

Difference in PI3K pathway inhibitors in EGFR mutant non-small cell lung cancer

This is a renewal of a grant to further explore a critical pathway required for the growth of lung cancer and how it is affected by currently available therapeutics. Understanding the mechanisms of action and resistance could lead to alternative approaches and avoid resistance to such agents.


Medical College of Wisconsin

Principal Investigator:

Jay Tichelaar, PhD

Research project:

Determining if lung cancer with a variety of mutations can be inhibited by blocking the AP-1 transcription factor

The study evaluates the impact of blocking a specific genetic transcription factor in lung cancer cells. The association of specific mutations in these cells and outcome of this blockage could lead to useful clinical prognostic information.


Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Principal Investigator:

Pang-Dian Fan

Research project:

Identification of novel mechanisms of resistance to ALK inhibitors

Grant will study mechanisms of resistance to an approved treatment for lung cancer called ALK inhibition. If successful, the scientific model that is being developed in this study could lead to effective standard application of this analytic method in additional settings.


Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Principal Investigator:

M. Catherine Pietanza, MD

Research project:

Small cell lung cancer mutational analysis program

The grant will support an analysis of mutations in small cell lung cancer which has not been extensively studied to date. It is expected that this database will provide very practical information on therapeutic strategy for this type of lung cancer.


The Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Principal Investigator:

Aurelian Radu, PhD

Research project:

Proof-of principal in mouse models of a new strategy for therapy of lung cancer

Grant will study a first in class type of new therapy for lung cancer by providing data for proof of concept and validation. If successful it could lead to development of an effective new treatment class of drugs.


National Cancer Institute

Principal Investigator:

Udayan Guha, MD, PhD

Research project:

In vivo imaging and quantitative phosphoproteomics to study responsiveness to EGFR-targeted treatments

Study to develop a new imaging and measurement model for the effect of therapeutics on lung cancer cells. Information derived from this analysis will extend understanding of how some commonly used lung cancer drugs kill cells and could have very practical clinical implications.


Ohio State University

Principal Investigator:

Erica Hlavin Bell, PhD

Research project:

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

This is a renewal of a LCRF grant studying a potential biomarker (BRG1) for the evaluation of prognosis and prediction of response for lung cancer patients with this trait.


Ottawa Hospital research Institute

Principal Investigator:

Jim Dimitroulakos, PhD

Research project:

Activating Transcription Factor 3 as a novel mediator of platin induced tumor cell cytotoxicity and resistance

Grant will study an important activating factor related to the activity and resistance of a commonly used chemotherapy drug for lung cancer called cisplatin. Better understanding of this effect could lead to improved outcomes using this agent.


The University of Chicago

Principal Investigator:

Ralph W. Weichselbaum, MD

Research project:

Improved treatment of lung cancer by Jak inhibitors and ionizing radiation

Study explores mechanisms to improve response to radiation therapy when combined with inhibitors of a specific pathway important for lung cancer cell survival. The findings of this study could lead to potential methods to predict tumor response to radiation therapy when combined with a particular class of drugs.


University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Principal Investigator:

Andrew Z. Wang, MD

Research project:

Using nanoparticle therapeutics to improve chemoradiotherapy for lung cancer

Novel approach to improve the outcomes of chemotherapy when combined with concurrent radiation therapy for lung cancer patients by using nanotechnology.


Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Principal Investigator:

Mohamed Hassanein

Research project:

Investigating the biological function of SLC1A5 in lung cancer

The grant will study a key component that determines the metabolism of lung cancer cells called an amino acid transporter. These findings could be applied to a novel method for image analysis of the cancer cells for use in a multiple laboratory settings.