Intercepting Lung Cancer: Where to Start?

November 17, 2020
Kevin Kunzmann

Strategic Alliance Partnership | <b>American Lung Association</b>

A team of researchers share strategies to "map out" pre-cancer lung risks in their greater goal of interception.

In the last decade-plus, significant progress has been made in the treatment of late-stage lung cancer—enough so that experts told HCPLive it’s been a “transformative” period of research, which has uncovered understanding of late-stage tumor molecular biology.

But now, investigators are seeking to bring that level of transformation to preventive lung cancer research.

In the November episode of Lungcast, a monthly podcast series from HCPLive and the American Lung Association (ALA) a pair of investigators from the Lung Cancer Interception research team sat down with ALA chief medical officer Albert Rizzo, MD, to discuss their team’s work into lung cancer interception.

The guests—Avrum Spira, MD, MSc, and Steven Dubinett, MD—shared their team’s plan to advance lung cancer interception strategies through the establishment of a lung “atlas,” which could provide patient cohort-based data on particular lesion trends through the lung over time.

“The word ‘atlas’ is perfect for what we’re doing in these investigations, because it’s really to create a roadmap of where we need to go in this disease, and to really understand what we’re treating is a prerequisite for making significant progress on the translational front,” Dubinett, director of the UCLA Clinical & Translational Science Institute, said.

Spira, Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Bioinformatics, and the Alexander Graham Bell Professor in Health Care Entrepreneurship at Boston University, described understanding of the earliest cellular molecular changes leading to precancerous tissue to be a “fundamental gap in knowledge” which could hinder any goal of lung cancer interception. As such, the atlas would be integral to their research.

“Those findings are going to provide insights into novel targets that we can go after to intercept someone before they develop fully-blown lung cancer,” Dubinett explained.

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