Quick Facts

Name: Warren L. Denning, PhD

Institution: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Education: BS, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
PhD, University of Alabama, Birmingham

Research Focus: Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)

As a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Warren L. Denning has had his fair share of opportunities to work with some of the world’s leading cancer researchers. Dr. Denning, a 2014 LCRF Grant awardee, also received the prestigious LCRF Scientific Merit Award. The award is given to the researcher who achieves the highest overall merit score as determined by the Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) Medical Advisory Board. Dr. Denning follows in the footsteps of colleague, Dr. Faye Johnson, the 2013 LCRF Scientific Merit Award winner.

Dr. Denning’s LCRF funded project, entitled, ‘CAR Modified T Cells as a Novel Immunotherapy to Eliminate Lung Cancer,’ will attempt to develop a novel way to treat small cell lung cancer (SCLC) by modifying a patient’s own immune system. Specifically, Dr. Denning and his team hope to engineer a patient’s T cell with a receptor to recognize and eliminate the tumor by binding to a specific surface protein. Essentially, the research project is looking to give the immune system ‘eyes’ to better detect, bind to, and eliminate cancer cells.

From early in his career, Dr. Denning has been interested and involved with cancer research. But it wasn’t until his time as a post-doctoral fellow that he focused his attention on lung cancer.

“Given the size and diversity of people lung cancer affects, it is an important area for research not only because different treatments have developed to suit so many different patients, but also because lung cancer can arise due to many different factors,” Denning said. “I believe understanding that factor of diversity will also help inform treatments for other cancer types as well.”

Dr. Denning celebrated Lung Cancer Awareness Month at the Foundation’s Ninth Annual Lung Cancer Awareness Luncheon earlier this month in New York City. At the event, Dr. Denning accepted the Merit Award and praised the LCRF’s great work in funding critical lung cancer research.

“The award of this grant is a firm step toward my development as an independent researcher,” Denning told an audience of more than 300 supporters. “All LCRF grants represent an opportunity to turn good ideas into good therapies, a chance to make the ephemeral actual, and bring a part of the future into the present – and that is powerful.”

Dr. Denning is one of 20 recipients of $1 million in lung cancer research funding. All applications for grants are reviewed by the LCRF’s esteemed Medical Advisory Board and approved by Board of Directors.

For more information about the LCRF Research Grant Program, please click here.

Research Snapshots