LCRF is proud to support cutting-edge research that’s making a difference in how lung cancer will be treated. Work on small cell lung cancer by 2017 LCRF grantee, Dr. Hua Zhang, MD, PhD, was featured as the cover story in the January 2020 issue of Cancer Cell journal. 

The cover illustration concept came from Dr. Zhang along with co-authors Kristen Labbe and Dr. Catríona Dowling. In the illustration, small cell lung cancer (SCLC), an often aggressive and difficult to treat disease, is depicted as a colorful piñata. The baseball bat represents a newly developed compound that helps elicit an immune response in SCLC by disrupting the cell cycle and causing the release of cytokines, which are substances that can help activate the immune system. Depicted as candies, these substances attract immune T cells, which are depicted as children in the illustration. Showing that inhibiting a molecule known as CDK7 with this new compound leads to a more robust immune response, the investigators have paved the way for potentially improving the effectiveness of immunotherapies in SCLC. This important work will now be tested in the clinic, where it has the potential to prolong survival in SCLC.

A number of investigators and LCRF grantees contributed to this work, including Drs. Matthew Oser, MD, PhD; Kwok-Kin Wong, MD, PhD; Camilla Christensen, PhD; and Peter Hammerman, MD, PhD.

View the article here.