SU2C-LUNGevity American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Translational Research
SU2C-LUNGevity American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Translational Research Team: Blood-based Early Interception of Lung Cancer
About This Team’s Research
Lung cancer is a devastating disease, in part because most patients are diagnosed after the cancer has metastasized and is much more difficult to treat. When discovered early, lung cancer can often be cured with surgery. Recently, a large study among smokers found screening low dose CT scans reduce death by 20%: the first major breakthrough for lung cancer screening. However, there are several problems: most importantly, this screening method picks up many abnormalities that are not cancerous, leading to follow-up scans and biopsies, and worry. The number of false-positive findings has led to a lack of enthusiasm about screening and low levels of participation among high risk patients and their physicians. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop better screening tests to enable more accurate and cost effective screening for early, curable lung cancers.
Our project aims to develop a test that can help close these gaps, reducing the problem of false-positives and opening the door to wider access to screening programs. Our companion test, called the Lung Cancer Interception Assay (LCIA) will use data from cutting edge blood-based technology platforms. Our team of leading scientists and clinicians at Massachusetts General Hospital and Stanford University will develop the assay using samples from two groups: early stage lung cancer patients and smokers who do not have worrisome nodules on their CT scans. We will employ new methods to detect and analyze tumor-derived cells in the bloodstream as well as tumor-derived free DNA in blood plasma. The collaborative relationships we have formed for this project will bring together world experts in diverse technologies that have traditionally been relegated to separate disciplines, and our team is deeply committed to developing a highly-accurate lung cancer diagnostic test which can ultimately function as a broadly applicable screening strategy for early detection and cure of early-stage lung cancer.
The team will develop a companion test, the Lung Cancer Interception Assay (LCIA) that can be used in conjunction with low dose CT scans. The LCIA will be simple for the patient but powerful, selecting from the best blood-based assays that examine circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating tumor DNA. After completing pilot testing as part of this Translational Research Grant, the Team plans to move the LCIA forward to larger, prospective clinical trials where they hope to make lung cancer screening more impactful, more affordable, and more accessible.