WASHINGTON, March 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During Women's History Month 2015, LUNGevity Foundation, the nation's leading lung cancer nonprofit, celebrates the women scientists whose passion, commitment, and research breakthroughs are making history in how we understand, detect and treat lung cancer, which affects over 220,000 new patients each year.
Advances in lung cancer research have accelerated at an unprecedented rate in the last 5 years, after decades of few new treatment options for patients. These exciting discoveries into the early detection and treatment of lung cancer research are due to breakthroughs made by lung cancer pioneers, many of them women. LUNGevity is proud to highlight four extraordinary women who serve on the foundation's Scientific Advisory Board and have made history in the field of lung cancer.
Denise Aberle, MD, professor and vice chair of research in radiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, served as the national principal investigator on the landmark National Lung Screening Trial, which proved a 20% relative risk reduction in lung cancer deaths for high-risk individuals who received low-dose CT scans. This study validated this potentially life-saving early detection approach for people at risk for lung cancer, and has led to implementation and insurance coverage for this valuable tool.
Julie Brahmer, MD, thoracic cancer director at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins, is an international thought leader in immunotherapy in leading the scientific community's quest to harness the body's own immune system to fight cancerous cells. She served as a clinical investigator on the lung cancer portion of the phase I trial for the PD-1 inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab), an immunology treatment. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug last week for use by patients with squamous cell lung cancer, delivering a game-changing treatment to a population with few treatment options.
Lecia V. Sequist, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and attending oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center – Center for Thoracic Cancer, develops and implements lung cancer clinical trials while also treating patients. In a recent breakthrough, Dr. Sequist's team found that some tumors had a change in their underlying type of lung cancer after treatment. She is now studying drug-resistant lung cancers, performing repeat biopsies to study ongoing changes in tumors.
Margaret R. Spitz, MD, MPH, professor, Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, is a world-renowned epidemiologist whose expertise runs from age-dependent incidence rates of lung cancer to the effects of environmental and genetic factors. Dr. Spitz developed a predictive risk model to identify genetic and non-genetic risk factors so that earlier diagnosis is possible, when the cancer is the most treatable. Accounting for the vast array of risk factors, such as smoking history, family history of lung cancer and prior respiratory disease, was a monumental task requiring decades of experimentation and testing. Today, scientists around the globe are studying her model in order to validate it as a risk prediction tool for lung cancer.
"Today's extraordinary lung cancer innovations and breakthroughs stand on the shoulders of these brilliant, hardworking women who joined the field when there were few promising options for patients with lung cancer. These pioneers built and fueled the momentum we are experiencing now in the field of lung cancer research and have helped lung cancer survivors live longer and better lives," said Andrea Ferris, president and chairman of LUNGevity Foundation. "LUNGevity is thrilled that, due to the leadership of these four, women continue to enter the field, driving innovation, pursuing new answers to critical questions, and inspiring hope within the lung cancer community."
For more information on LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.LUNGevity.org.
About Lung Cancer
- 1 in 15 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime
- More than 224,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year
- About 60% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers
- Lung cancer kills more people than the next three cancers (colorectal, breast, and pancreatic) combined
- Only 17% of all people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive 5 years or more, BUT if it's caught before it spreads, the chance for 5-year survival improves dramatically
About LUNGevity Foundation
LUNGevity Foundation is firmly committed to making an immediate impact on increasing quality of life and survivorship of people with lung cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as by providing community, support, and education for all those affected by the disease. Our vision is a world where no one dies of lung cancer. For more information about LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.LUNGevity.org.
SOURCE LUNGevity Foundation