Blog: Decoding the Research

Precision medicine for lung cancer making headlines

Published: August 13th, 2013

UALC-funded researchers key players driving revolution in cancer treatments

The Wall Street Journal today highlighted a revolution occurring in cancer treatment. Knowledge gained over a decade of research is resulting in new precision medicines and targeted treatments improving patient survival, and lung cancer research is leading the way in scientific discovery that will affect how all cancers are treated.

“From a point of hopelessness and a point of fearing that life was short, suddenly [patients are] able to live for years and years,” said UALC Medical Committee member Dr. Mark Kris, also quoted in the WSJ article. “To put it in the simplest terms, they get their life back. The kind of life they were leading before cancer is their life again.”

Uniting Against lung Cancer has been helping lung cancer researchers spearhead this field for the last 10 years, funding over $10 million in lung cancer research. “UALC has really tried to give special attention to those people, and to fund not just projects, but the people behind them,” said Dr. Kris.

Dr. Matthew Meyerson of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, now a UALC Medical Committee member, was one of our first grantees, and a key player in developing the tests used for EGFR mutations. “UALC was the first foundation dedicated specifically to research on lung cancer, the first support that my laboratory received from a foundation dedicated to lung cancer. It was really critical in helping us do this.”

Dr. Trever Bivona, interviewed in a video piece accompanying the Wall Street Journal article, is another UALC grantee. Funded as a fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 2010, Dr. Bivona now leads his own lab at the University of California, San Francisco. "My grant from UALC provided critical funding to help us discover a new, potentially more effective treatment strategy for lung cancer patients,” said Dr. Bivona.

Read more from UALC-funded researchers about this revolution in cancer treatment in the WSJ article, including Dr. John Heymach of MD Anderson Cancer Center and Dr. Alice Shaw of Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Shaw, a current UALC grantee, will be presenting her research on treating patients with a specific type of lung cancer driven by ROS1 mutations at UALC’s Insights Into Research this November in New York City.