Aurora, Colo.- The University of Colorado Cancer Center and 13 other leading centers will begin free genetic tumor screenings for lung cancer patients because of a $5.2 million Grand Opportunities grant, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The project, called the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium Protocol, aims to identify mutations in lung adenocarcinoma tumors for which there are specific, more effective and less toxic oral therapies.
Dr. Paul A. Bunn, Jr., a world renowned lung cancer researcher and UCCC’s founding director, will lead the consortium. Dr. Wilbur Franklin, professor of pathology at the University of Colorado Denver and UCCC member, is the Colorado principal investigator.
“We will be testing the tumors for specific mutations we know happen in lung cancer to understand their frequency, their relationship to each other and their association with the tumor’s clinical features,” said Bunn, professor of medical oncology at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. “We will also be investigating what specific drugs work against these mutations and how often they work.”
Patients who enroll in the clinical trial to have their tumor tested may also qualify for an existing clinical trial for a specific inhibitor drug, such as erlotinib for EGFR overexpression, the most common gene mutation seen in adenocarcinoma tumors of the lungs.
Last year, UCCC lung cancer scientists published a study that showed erlotinib combined with standard chemotherapy doubled the expected lifespan for lung cancer patients with EGFR-positive tumors. Those same UCCC scientists developed the screening tool for EGFR expression.
“We’ve shown in many studies now that if we know what the gene problems are in your tumor and we have drugs that takes advantage of those problems, then you are likely to get better results, have better quality of life and live longer than if we treat you with the old standard of care,” Bunn said. “Cancer is no longer a one-size-fits-all disease. We have to have as much information as possible to give the exact right treatment to each and every patient. This project should give us much more information than we’ve ever had before.”
Clinical trial enrollment is open in Colorado. Patients who wish to enroll in the study can schedule an appointment with the University of Colorado Cancer Center lung cancer team by calling Mary Jackson, 303-724-1650.
The free tumor testing is also taking place at:
The Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Emory University/Winship Cancer Center
Moffitt Cancer Center
Johns Hopkins/Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Mass General Hospital Cancer Center
Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute
National Cancer Institute
UCLA/Jonssen Cancer Center
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
University of Texas-Southwestern Cancer Center
Vanderbilt-Ingraham Cancer Center.
Lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer-killer of Americans, and the second most-commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women. According to the American Cancer Society, about 220,000 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States this year, and about 159,000 will die. There are no good early detection tests for lung cancer, and it is usually diagnosed after it has spread beyond the lungs.
About the University of Colorado Cancer Center
The University of Colorado Cancer Center is the Rocky Mountain region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. NCI has given only 40 cancer centers this designation, deeming membership as “the best of the best.” Headquartered on the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, UCCC is a consortium of three state universities (Colorado State University, University of Colorado at Boulder and University of Colorado Denver) and five institutions (The Children’s Hospital, Denver Health, Denver VA Medical Center, National Jewish Health and University of Colorado Hospital). Together, our 400+ members are working to ease the cancer burden through cancer care, research, education and prevention and control. Learn more at www.uccc.info.
Contact: Lynn Gorham, email@example.com, 303-724-3160