Funded Research

Uniting Against Lung Cancer funds scientific research that aims to enable patients to win their battles with lung cancer and live healthy lives years after diagnosis. Search our portfolio:

Evolution and impact of tumor molecular heterogeneity on response to EGFR-targeted lung cancer therapy

Collin Blakely, MD, PhD
University of California, San Francisco

Sponsored by Uniting Against Lung Cancer and Free to Breathe
Funded 2013

Activating mutations in EGFR are present in ~15-20% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with the majority of these occurring in never-smokers. While most EGFR-mutant NSCLC patients initially respond to treatment with an EGFR-targeted therapy, essentially all patients develop drug resistance. Dr. Blakely’s research is aimed at understanding how tumors develop resistance and developing new, effective treatments. His team analyzed the genetic diversity of a patient’s lung cancer and found evidence of two distinct types of cells within the same tumor, with different driver mutations. Dr. Blakely hypothesizes that this genetic diversity within a lung tumor promotes tumor progression dictates response and resistance to EGFR-targeted therapy. His project will use model systems to determine whether tumor genetic diversity affects growth and resistance, and correlate those results with lung cancer patients’ responses to EGFR-targeted therapy.