Groups Award Two Grants for ALK-positive Lung Cancer Research
NEW YORK, NY (December 22, 2022) – The Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) and ALK Positive Inc. (ALK Positive) announce funding of two ALK-positive related lung cancer projects. These grants, totaling $500,000, are awarded to researchers whose projects are focused upon transforming care and improving outcomes for patients with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
“This is an exciting time for ALK-positive scientific research. Through this partnership with LCRF, we have leveraged their rigorous selection process and access to experts to help us select and support the research most likely to save the lives of patients and improve their quality of life,” says Dr. Emily Venanzi, ALK-positive patient/survivor since 2017, and ALK Positive’s representative for this research partnership. “These awards bring the total research grants our organization has helped select and fund to almost $5,000,000. The members and supporters of ALK Positive and LCRF have made amazing efforts to raise funds for this award program. Currently, there is no known cure for this type of cancer in its advanced stage. We look forward to following these investigators as they pursue their projects.”
Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) rearrangements were first detected in NSCLC in 2007, occur in about 5% of lung cancers, and also occur in many other cancer types. ALK-activating DNA rearrangements result in a fusion protein that drives the development of ALK-positive cancer. ALK-rearranged lung cancer is significantly more common in young patients than other types of lung cancer. Overall, the median age for lung cancer diagnoses is 70. In contrast, half of ALK-positive lung cancer patients are diagnosed before age 50, and nearly one-third are diagnosed before age 40. ALK-positive lung cancers also occur in patients under the age of 30, and the majority of ALK-positive lung cancers at any age occur in patients with little or no smoking history.
Research, clinical trials, and improved molecular profiling have accelerated precision medicine approaches for treating NSCLC. The FDA has approved a number of therapies targeting various molecular subsets of NSCLC. ALK-specific NSCLC therapies now include crizotinib, ceritinib, alectinib, brigatinib, and lorlatinib, with each new generation of therapy demonstrating improved efficacy and durability in controlling the disease. While ALK-positive targeted therapies can produce durable responses, almost all ALK-positive NSCLC patients eventually develop resistance to all existing therapies.
“We are delighted to be funding innovative science in partnership with ALK Positive,” remarked Dennis Chillemi, Executive Director of LCRF. “It is our hope that these awards accelerate ALK-positive therapeutics and uncover the next line of treatment options, so patients with this specific mutation have more options for positive outcomes.”
The 2022 ALK Positive/Lung Cancer Research Award recipients include:
Jaime Schneider, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Metabolic reprogramming as a driver of resistance in ALK+ lung cancer
Álvaro Quintanal Villalonga, PhD
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Identifying epigenomic mechanisms of ALK TKI resistance
About the Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF)
The Lung Cancer Research Foundation® (LCRF) is the leading nonprofit organization focused on funding innovative, high-reward research with the potential to extend survival and improve quality of life for people with lung cancer. LCRF’s mission is to improve lung cancer outcomes by funding research for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of lung cancer. To date, LCRF has funded 409 research grants, totaling more than $42 million, the highest amount provided by a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding lung cancer research. For more information about the LCRF grant program and funding opportunities, visit lcrf.org/research.
About ALK Positive
ALK Positive is a 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to improve the life expectancy and quality of life of ALK-positive cancer patients worldwide. ALK Positive is committed to raising funds to support research that will transform ALK-positive cancer into a chronic or curable condition for all patients living with this disease. ALK Positive has raised over $7M to date to help achieve its mission. ALK Positive is affiliated with the ALK Positive Support Group, the world’s largest community of ALK-positive patients. For more information about ALK Positive, please visit www.alkpositive.org.