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Dartmouth-Led Team Wins $12.1M NIH Grant for Lung Cancer Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A group led by Dartmouth College researchers has been awarded a five-year, $12.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to advance the precision diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, the institution announced on Thursday.

The team is planning to undertake three related projects using the funding. In the first, they will analyze lung samples to identify genomic variants that affect cancer risk through genetic factors and environmental exposures. In the second, the investigators aim to evaluate a range of biomarkers that have been implicated in lung cancer risk and apply validated biomarkers to risk prediction models.

In the last project, the scientists will develop an integrated risk prediction model based on lung cancer computed tomography screening populations in the United States, Canada, and Europe, combining personal health and exposure history with targeted molecular and genomic profiles and lung function data. This effort also aims to establish nodule assessment models for individuals qualified by the probability models.

"The goal is to enhance our understanding of gene-environment interactions in lung cancer etiology and to move the observations about risk for lung cancer towards translation," Dartmouth's Christopher Amos, a principal investigator on the NIH grant, said in a statement. "With this grant funding, the team particularly aims to more precisely target lung cancer screening to reduce its burden and improve the yield of detection for early lung cancer."

According to Dartmouth, the effort is building on a genome-wide association study published earlier this year in Nature Genetics by Amos and his collaborators that identified several new variants related to lung cancer risk.

In addition to Dartmouth scientists, the grant includes investigators from the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research in Cancer, the University of Toronto, and the Harvard School of Public Health. The grant begins on August 1 and runs until May 31, 2022.