Groups introduce $2 million, multi-year research partnership and open 2023 Request for Proposals
NEW YORK, NY (June 15, 2023) – The Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) and the ALK Positive Inc. (ALK Positive) announce the expansion of its current research partnership to fund $2 million in ALK-positive related lung cancer projects over three years. The aim of this research is to advance high-impact research focused upon transforming care and improving outcomes for patients with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) rearrangements were first detected in NSCLC in 2007 and occur in 5% of lung cancers. However, ALK rearrangements are significantly more common in young patients. Overall, the average age for lung cancer diagnoses is 70. ALK positive lung cancers are seen in half of lung cancers diagnosed before age 50, nearly one third diagnosed before 40, and occurs in patients in their teens and twenties. Risk factors for ALK-positive lung cancer are young age, female, and little or no smoking history.
Research, clinical trials, and improved molecular profiling has accelerated precision medicine approaches for treating NSCLC. The FDA has approved a number of therapies targeting various molecular subsets of NSCLC. ALK-positive specific NSCLC therapies now include crizotinib, ceritinib, alectinib, brigatinib, and lorlatinib, with newer, next-generation therapies, demonstrating superior efficacy against the disease. While ALK-positive targeted therapies can produce durable responses, many ALK-positive NSCLC patients eventually develop resistance to these therapies.
Given that therapeutic options available to date are not curative, there is a need for novel approaches to treat these lung cancers and improve outcomes for patients. This grant mechanism will focus on furthering the development of novel therapies, including immunotherapeutic approaches, for patients with tumors harboring rearrangement of the ALK gene.
Work supported through this mechanism will address important mechanistic questions and developmental therapeutics across the care continuum and have the potential to increase survivorship. Given the specific interest in the development of novel therapies that could benefit this group of patients in the relatively near-term, a clinical trial must be associated with the project. It is also expected that a program of correlative, translational research will be proposed that will enhance the understanding of these oncogenic-driven lung cancers.
“ALK Positive is excited to once again partner with LCRF on important research. Our partnership leverages LCRF’s rigorous selection process and access to experts to help us choose and support the research most likely to save the lives of patients and improve their quality of life,” notes Dr. Kenneth W. Culver, ALK Positive Director of Research and Clinical Affairs, and ALK Positive’s representative for this research partnership. “This $2 million research award program expands on our research partnership with LCRF and will bring the total research grants our organization has helped fund and select to almost $7 million. The members and supporters of ALK Positive and LCRF have made amazing efforts to raise funds for this award program.”
“We are delighted to partner with ALK Positive on this funding mechanism,” remarked Dr. Antoinette Wozniak, Chief Scientific Officer of LCRF. “It is so important to push for near-term solutions for patients with tumors harboring ALK translocations, as resistance is expected, and options for these patients are limited. Both LCRF and ALK Positive are committed to investing in research that will improve therapeutic options and increase survivorship.”
This funding mechanism will grant awards to selected projects; applications will be subject to a rigorous review by ALK Positive’s Research Review Panel and LCRF’s Scientific Advisory Board. More details about the Request for Proposal, along with eligibility, requirements, and deadlines will soon be available at LCRF.org/FundingOpportunities.
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 nearly $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 for research to fund research proposals 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 fund ALK-positive specific cancer research. 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.
Lung Cancer Research Foundation
Sr. Director, Marketing & Communications
Kenneth W. Culver MD
Director of Research and Clinical Affairs