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National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Friday, August 12, 2005

NCI Press Office

NCI Announces Integrated Implementation Plan to Fight Lung Cancer

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) today announced an integrated effort to eliminate the suffering and death due to lung cancer by 2015. Each year, 160,000 people in the United States die from lung cancer, making it the number one cause of cancer deaths in this country. This initiative further supports the NCI mission to eliminate the suffering and death due to all cancers by 2015.

The primary cause of lung cancer is tobacco smoke. “If we are going to be serious about improving health and preventing disease, we must continue to drive down tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke in this country,” said Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

However, smoking is not the sole cause of lung cancer. Other environmental threats and factors play a role in its development. “Reducing the burden of lung cancer is absolutely essential to achieving our overall 2015 goal,” said NCI Director Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D.

As part of this integrated implementation plan, three critical strategies will be targeted:

  • Reducing the risk for lung cancer by achieving more effective tobacco control
  • Improving the likelihood of a cure through earlier detection and treatment of lung cancer and pre-cancer
  • Introduction of novel targeted therapies through cohesive partnerships with ongoing or planned biology initiatives

Specific recommendations made by NCI’s I-2 team, or Integration Implementation Team, include efforts in these areas:

  • Cessation: Improve the success rates of smoking cessation through a multi-pronged approach including the development and testing of promising therapies for nicotine addiction; develop innovative studies to explore the genetics of nicotine addiction and gene/environment interactions of nicotine dependence; conduct vaccine research to understand the potential role that the treatment of addiction may provide; support ongoing studies to better characterize the impact of nicotine on the developing brain.
  • Early Detection: Maximize detection efforts using proteomic and expression technologies on tissue and biospecimen samples; utilize tissue from lung cancer cases diagnosed in the Prostate Lung Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) trial to identify markers expressed in malignancies.
  • New Drug Development and Response to Therapy: Study the early cancer and pre-cancer microenvironment focusing on the effects of inflammation, infection and injury on the development of lung cancer; establish a lung cancer-specific Image Response Assessment Team (IRAT) to initiate standards for image acquisition, quantitative image analysis of markers of response, and new molecular imaging strategies to assess response; develop a model that integrates genomic, transcription, proteomic, and clinical manifestations of lung cancer and provide a global road map of the current understanding of lung cancer development, sites and mechanisms of drug interventions; develop drug delivery systems and strategies to stimulate research in alternative, more effective and less toxic methods such as aerosolized drug delivery for organ-confined disease or prevention, and nanoparticle-based drug delivery for systemic disease.

The implementation of this initiative is under way, and progress on these efforts will be reported in the coming months.

For more information on lung cancer research, clinical trials, and other efforts at the NCI, please go to http://www.nci.nih.gov/cancertopics/types/lung.

For information on quitting smoking, please go to http://smokefree.gov/ or call 1-800-QUITNOW.

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 National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — is comprised of 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 investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

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