|New Early Detection Studies of Lung Cancer in Non-Smokers Launched Today
Government and private sector cancer scientists today launched
a research partnership to find biomarkers for lung cancer that
develops in people who have never smoked. The research studies
are designed to create a better understanding of the biology of
lung cancer and to develop a test to detect early-stage lung cancer
in lifetime nonsmokers.
The Canary Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds research in early
cancer detection, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part
of the National Institutes of Health, are sponsoring this multi-institutional
effort. NCIís Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) and the Canary
Foundation will provide initial funding of $1 million each.
Research has shown that lung cancer in people who have never smoked differs in
many ways from the disease in smokers. For example, non-smokers
with lung cancer have different tumor tissue structure, gene mutations,
and demographic profiles than smokers with lung cancer. "Efforts
to study the disease in never-smokers have been limited, and no
screening tests or approaches for identifying individuals at increased
risk are available today," said Samir Hanash, M.D., Ph.D., of the
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, and team leader
for Canary Foundation-funded projects. "This inability to recognize
non-smokers who are at risk often leads to delays in diagnosis
and results in cancer identification at an advanced stage, and
this problem is what weíre tackling with this new study."
Global estimates suggest that as many as 25 percent of all lung cancers worldwide — 15
percent of those in men and 50 percent of those in women — are not attributable
to smoking. "If you consider lung cancer in never smokers as a separate
category, it ranks as the seventh most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide,
even before cancers of the cervix, pancreas and prostate," commented Adi Gazdar,
M.B.B.S., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and
team leader for the NCI-funded studies.
Using lung cancer cell lines, tissue, and blood specimens, researchers at five
of the nationís leading research institutions will undertake a coordinated approach
to biomarker discovery using their expertise to study the same sets of specimens
by different methods. The researchers will deposit the data in a single repository,
and integrate the results to find the most promising biomarkers. Because of this
design, this project will also serve as a pilot study to demonstrate the feasibility
of the approach and the ability to integrate the data across different platforms.
If it is successful, the researchers plan to open the project to additional collaborators
from the EDRN.
The NCI-EDRN will fund most of the tumor studies, and the Canary Foundation
will provide funding for the cell culture studies. Projects funded by NCI include:
- Protein biomarker discovery: In-Depth Proteomic Analysis of Plasmas
from Subjects with Lung Cancer Arising in Current, and Never Smokers (Principal
Investigator (PI): Hanash)
- Genome analysis: Mining the Genome and Transcriptome in Lung Cancer
from Never Smokers (PI: Gazdar)
- Cellular alterations: Mitochondrial Mutations in Lung Cancer from
Never Smokers (PI: David Sidransky, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine,
- Genome analysis: Genomic Studies of Lung Cancer Arising in Current,
and Never Smokers (PIs: Wan Lam and Stephen Lam, British Columbia Cancer Agency,
Vancouver, British Columbia)
Projects funded by the Canary Foundation include:
- Protein biomarker discovery: Proteomic Analysis of Lung Cancer Cell Lines
- Tumor biomarker discovery: Biomarker Discovery for Lung Cancer in Never
Smokers (PI: Gazdar)
- Genome analysis: Genomic Studies of Lung Cancer Cell Lines from Lung Cancers
Arising in Current, and Never Smokers (PIs: Lam and Lam)
- RNA analysis: MicroRNA Profiles of a Lung Cancer Cell Line Panel (PI: Muneesh
Tewari, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Seattle, Wash.)
- Genome analysis: Genome-Wide DNA Methylation Profiling of Lung Adenocarcinomas
from Never Smokers and Current Smokers (PI: Ite Laird-Offringa, University of
Southern California, Los Angeles)
"This project is extremely important, both in its approach toward lung cancer detection and in its structure as a multi-institutional, transdisciplinary project funded through a public-private partnership,Ē said John E. Niederhuber, M.D., director of the National Cancer Institute. ďIdentification of biomarkers, which tell us who is at risk for cancer and help diagnose cancer at the earliest possible stages, is an important priority in cancer prevention research and a key component in efforts to reduce the burden of this disease."
Canary Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to the goal of identifying cancer
early through a simple blood test and then isolating it with imaging. Since 2004,
Canary has raised over $30 million in pledges towards its initial goal of $50
million for early detection research. Its collaborative research programs span
multiple disciplines and institutions. 100 percent of donations go to early detection
research activities. For more information, please visit www.canaryfoundation.org.
NCI leads the National Cancer Program and the NIH effort to dramatically reduce
the burden of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families,
through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions,
and the training and mentoring of new researchers. For more information about
cancer, please visit the NCI Web site at http://www.cancer.gov or call NCI's
Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).
The NCIís Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) brings together dozens of institutions
to help accelerate the translation of biomarker information into clinical applications
and to evaluate new ways of testing cancer in its earliest stages and for cancer
risk. For more information, please visit http://edrn.nci.nih.gov/.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.