Press Releases

Uniting Against Lung Cancer Awards New Research Grants

Published: December 8th, 2009

Foundation’s Research Funding Totals More Than $6 Million For Groundbreaking Projects at Top U.S. Cancer Centers

Largest Private Source of “Venture Capital” for Lung Cancer Research in U.S. Comes from Uniting Like-Minded Individuals and Organizations

Uniting Against Lung Cancer (formerly Joan’s Legacy) announced its funding of new research into lung cancer in 2009 – bringing the foundation’s total research funding to over $6 million. Eleven $100,000 grants were made in collaboration with research-focused lung cancer groups, supporting research projects into earlier diagnosis and treatment of the disease at nationally-recognized institutions.

“With greater support from our many partners, Uniting Against Lung Cancer we are able to fund the brightest minds in the field,” said Executive Director, Susan Mantel. We are investing ‘seed money’ in promising new projects that otherwise would not be funded to find a cure for lung cancer.”

Due to the dire need for research in all areas of lung cancer, Uniting Against Lung Cancer funded several small cell lung cancer projects for the first time in 2009. This year, in keeping with its commitment to fund groundbreaking research, including lung cancer in people who have never smoked. Uniting Against Lung Cancer will fund the following projects:

  • William Bennett, M.D., Beckman Research Institute at the City of Hope: DNA methylation changes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells as biomarkers for lung cancer
  • Johann Brandes, M.D., Ph.D., Emory University: Targeting CHFR through PARP inhibition: A novel strategy to overcome taxane resistance in adenocarcinoma of the lung
  • Leena Gandhi, M.D., Ph.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: The impact of CXCR4 inhibition on endogenous mouse models of lung cancer progression and metastasis
  • Susumu Kobayashi, M.D., Ph.D., Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Targeting EML4-ALK in non-small cell lung cancer: Identification of resistance to ALK inhibitors
  • Lee Krug, M.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Exploring the activity of Hsp90 inhibitors in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of small cell lung cancer: Preliminary and phase I studies
  • Xiaogi Liu, Ph.D., Purdue University: Validation of Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) as a therapeutic target in small cell lung cancer
  • Mats Ljungman, Ph.D., University of Michigan: Regulation of Myc and microRNA in small cell lung cancer
  • Matthew Meyerson, M.D., Ph.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Discovery of essential oncogenes in small cell lung cancer
  • Rocio Sotillo, M.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer: Center Chromosomal instability in lung tumor relapse and resistance to therapy: A perspective from mouse models
  • Angelique Whitehurst, Ph.D., University of North Carolina: Functional characterization of novel mechanisms supporting tumor cell mitosis
  • Ignacio Wistuba, M.D., University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: Comparison of molecular pathogenesis and field cancerization phenomenon in lung adenocarcinoma from never smokers versus smokers

Uniting Against Lung Cancer, founded as Joan’s Legacy in 2001, was developed to raise awareness about lung cancer and funds for research into its diagnosis and treatment. It has been joined in its research and awareness activities by like-minded groups, providing the funds needed for ground-breaking lung cancer research.

In 2009, the Barbara Parisi Fund, Caine Halter Fund for Lung Cancer Research, Elliot’s Legacy, Joan’s Legacy, Kate McMullen Foundation, LUNGevity Foundation, the Michael Pascucci Lung Cancer Association and the Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation partnered with Uniting Against Lung Cancer to co-fund the research grants. “Collaboration is vital in this battle. Together we will conquer lung cancer,” said Uniting Against Lung Cancer Executive Director, Susan Mantel.

Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the United States, taking more than 162,000 lives each year. Yet lung cancer receives far less research funding than almost any other cancer, making the work of Uniting Against Lung Cancer even more compelling.

Uniting Against Lung Cancer makes grant awards every Fall. The Foundation hosts Kites for a Cure™ events across the country, a benefit every November (Lung Cancer Awareness Month), and other events throughout the year, which help to fund its research initiatives. For more information, please visit