WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Patient group EGFR Resisters and LUNGevity Foundation today announced the 2021 recipients of the first EGFR Resisters/LUNGevity Lung Cancer Research Award. This award program, driven by EGFR Resisters—a grassroots patient-led group that has 2,500+ patients and caregivers from 75+ countries—supports critical research that seeks to substantially improve outcomes for the approximately 23% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors have an EGFR-positive mutation.1 In the U.S., more than 20,000 people are diagnosed with EGFR-positive lung cancer each year. The ultimate goal of this research is to transform EGFR-positive non-small cell lung cancer into a chronic, manageable condition.
These awards total $200,000 each for a two-year term; funds were raised by EGFR Resisters.
The 2021 awards have been presented to:
- Christine Lovly, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Ingram Associate Professor of Cancer Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Targeting drug tolerant states + DNA damage to block osimertinib resistance
Despite high tumor response rates, patients treated with EGFR targeted therapies, such as osimertinib, inevitably develop disease progression. Mechanisms of drug resistance remain incompletely understood on both a genomic and proteomic level. The objective of this project is to find new targeted treatments and drug combinations that can tackle cancer evolution and osimertinib resistance.
- Helena Yu, MD, Assistant Attending, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Molecular characterization of lineage plasticity
As a mechanism of resistance to EGFR inhibitors, cancers can change histology from adenocarcinoma to small cell or squamous cell lung cancer. Once this happens, EGFR inhibitors are no longer effective treatment; there are no strategies currently available to prevent or reverse transformation after it has occurred. Dr. Yu will use advanced molecular techniques to identify genetic changes that contribute to transformation. Understanding these genetic changes will identify biomarkers that can be utilized to develop treatments to prevent and reverse transformation.
"As EGFR lung cancer patients and advocates, we are extremely excited about these research awards, which address two of the more pressing concerns in our community. Every day, we watch fellow patients struggle with osimertinib resistance or small cell transformation. We are hopeful that partnering with researchers in these two areas will lead to possible treatment options that dramatically improve outcomes for patients like us," say Sarah Christ and Julie Swedberg, members of the EGFR Resisters who participated in the award review process.
The awards are a testament to the power of partnership between patients and researchers.
"We are deeply grateful for the honor of receiving these awards and the pleasure of working with LUNGevity Foundation and the EGFR Resisters to help improve outcomes for all patients with lung cancer harboring an EGFR mutation," says Dr. Yu. "Through the funded proposals, we will investigate two major areas of unmet need in the treatment of EGFR-mutated lung cancer, and we are confident that this partnership between patients, clinical/translational researchers, and advocacy organizations will enable cutting-edge research in a collaborative, team-based manner," says Dr. Lovly.
"LUNGevity is proud to be partnering with EGFR Resisters to identify and drive research projects that have the potential to quickly improve outcomes for EGFR-positive patients," says Upal Basu Roy, PhD, MPH, Executive Director, LUNGevity Research. "The Resisters have selected two projects that address critical and urgent needs of the EGFR-positive lung cancer community. We're excited that these projects combine the patient voice with the scientific rigor demanded of such critical research, and we are hopeful that they will lead to saved lives."
About EGFR Resisters
Founded in August 2017 by six patients and one caregiver, the EGFR Resisters is a grassroots, patient-driven community of patients and caregivers living with and/or personally affected by EGFR-positive lung cancer. The group has a closed Facebook group for members to connect and share best practices, and it communicates with the broader EGFR community through a website, monthly newsletter, and social media. The EGFR Resisters aims to improve outcomes by supporting patients and caregivers, increasing awareness and education for community members, improving access to effective diagnosis and treatment, and accelerating and funding research that will improve outcomes for all those with EGFR-positive lung cancer.
The mission of the EGFR Resisters is to understand the unmet needs of the community and to use the strength of collaboration to drive important research questions and fund novel research and clinical trials
For more information about EGFR Resisters, please visit https://egfrcancer.org/.
About LUNGevity Foundation
LUNGevity Foundation is the nation's leading lung cancer organization focused on improving outcomes for people with lung cancer through research, policy initiatives, education, support, and engagement for patients, survivors, and caregivers. LUNGevity seeks to make an immediate impact on the quality of life and survivorship for everyone touched by the disease—while promoting health equity by addressing disparities throughout the care continuum. LUNGevity works tirelessly to advance research into early detection and more effective treatments, provide information and educational tools to empower patients and their caregivers, promote impactful public policy initiatives, and amplify the patient voice through research and engagement. The organization provides an active community for patients and survivors—and those who help them live longer and better lives.
Comprehensive resources include a medically vetted and patient-centric website, a toll-free HELPLine for support, the International Lung Cancer Survivorship Conference, and an easy-to-use Clinical Trial Finder, among other tools. All of these programs are to achieve our vision—a world where no one dies of lung cancer. LUNGevity Foundation is proud to be a four-star Charity Navigator organization.
Our vision is a world where no one dies of lung cancer. For more information about LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.LUNGevity.org.
- Kusnoor SV, Koonce TY, Levy MA, et al. My Cancer Genome: Evaluating an Educational Model to Introduce Patients and Caregivers to Precision Medicine Information. AMIA Jt Summits Transl Sci Proc 2016;2016:112-121. Information on EGFR mutations accessed on February 17, 2021 from https://www.mycancergenome.org/content/disease/non-small-cell-lung-carcinoma/
SOURCE LUNGevity Foundation