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Previously Funded Research

2020 LCRF Research Grant on Disparities in Lung Cancer

Joshua Campbell, PhD

Boston University

Research Project:

Determining differences in immunotherapy outcomes and immunobiology in African American patients with NSCLC


Novel classes of cancer therapeutics work by activating the immune system, which in turn targets and kills cancer cells. These “immunotherapies” have had great success in treating some patients with advanced stage lung cancer. However, we do not fully understand why immunotherapy works for some lung cancer patients yet not for others. There is a major need to more fully characterize the immune system in lung cancer patients and determine the clinical and biological factors that are necessary for an immunotherapy to work effectively. For aim 1 of this study, we will determine if there are significant differences in immunotherapy response and toxicity between African American (AA) patients and other populations. Single-cell RNA sequencing is a new approach that can measure the genes which are turned on or off in individual cells. For the second aim of this study, we will perform single-cell RNA-seq on lung biopsies from AA and non-AA patients to determine if molecular pathways associated with response to immunotherapy are similar or different between populations. Identifying molecular features that are associated with response in AA patients can lead to the development of new diagonostic biomarkers and potentially identify novel avenues of therapeutic development.