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NCI Awards Yale $11M to Fund Lung Cancer Research Program

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Cancer Institute has awarded Yale University a five-year, $11 million grant to establish a new research program to study the biology and personalized treatment of lung cancer.

The so-called Specialized Program of Research Excellence, or SPORE, initiative is specifically focused on developing novel therapeutics and personalized prevention strategies by improving the understanding of targetable biochemical and immunological pathways involved in the progression of lung cancer and the acquisition of resistance to therapy, according to the grant's abstract.

To do so, SPORE investigators will look to uncover the mechanisms underlying patient response and resistance to cancer drugs targeting programmed cell death protein-1; gain a better understanding of the epidermal growth factor receptor pathway in mutant/resistant lung cancer; and explore smoking-cessation messaging targeting Americans with asymptomatic lung nodules who continue to smoke.

Under the SPORE program, Yale researchers will also work with Frank Slack, a former Yale scientist who now runs the Institute for RNA Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, on the development of microRNA-based therapeutics for lung cancer.

"The only way to approach a problem as big as lung cancer is to have experts in basic, translational, and clinical research working on several fronts taking the research from the lab to the clinic and back again to develop even newer insights," Yale researcher Roy Herbst, the principal investigator of the grant, said in a statement. "This effort represents tremendous teamwork by investigators to combat this very common and all-too-fatal disease."