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Established in 1992, the University of Colorado Cancer Center's Lung Cancer SPORE is a National Cancer Institute-funded program that aims to fast-track basic research findings to cancer patients and people at risk for lung cancer. Located at the CU Cancer Center on the Anschutz Medical Campus, the Lung Cancer SPORE is funded from 2014 through 2019 on a five-year grant totaling $12.5 million.

Our goal is to bring new ideas from the laboratory to the clinic and from the clinic to the lab that can improve survival and quality of life, while reducing the number of people who get lung cancer and who die from the disease.

Research is focused on discovering biomarkers that can help doctors detect lung cancer earlier, offer an accurate prognosis and assign new types of treatments to the patients most likely to respond.

Current Funding Period: 2014-2019

Principal investigator: Paul A. Bunn, Jr., MD

Co-principal investigators: Robert Doebele, MD, PhD & York E. Miller, MD

Locations: University of Colorado Cancer Center


Project 1:Targeting FGFR Signaling in Lung Cancer
Co-Leaders: Lynn Heasley, PhD, Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD, and D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD
Co-Investigator: Dexiang Gao, PhD
Hypothesis: Predictive biomarkers will identify lung cancers of any histology that will benefit from FGFR directed therapy.
Discovery: FGFR is a therapeutic target in lung cancer overexpressing the FGFR receptor including some adenocarcinomas with EGFR mutations that become resistant to first generation EGFR TKIs and tumors with SOX2 gene amplification.
References: Ware et al, Marek et al, Wynes et al ,Toschi et al

Project 2: Improving the Outcome of EGFR TKI Therapy Using Rational Combinations.
Co- Leaders: James DeGregori, PhD, and Paul A. Bunn, Jr., MD
Co-Investigators: Robert Doebele, MD, PhD, Lynn Heasley, PhD, Dexiang Gao, PhD, and Aik Choon Tan, PhD. Hypothesis: Rational therapeutic combinations will improve the outcome from EGFR TKI therapy.
Discovery: Resistance to initial tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy can be mediated by activation of the EGFR, FGFR or WNT pathways.
References: Davies et al, Ware et al, Kim J et al

Project 3: Prostacyclin and Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor- in Lung Cancer.
Co-Leaders: Raphael Nemenoff, PhD and Robert Keith, MD
Co-Investigators: Daniel Merrick, MD  
Hypothesis: an understanding of the mechanisms of inhibition of lung cancer initiation by prostacyclins and PPAR agonists and identification of predictive biomarkers for patient selection will lead to effective chemoprevention.
Discovery: Micro RNAs and SNP microarrays can serve as biomarkers for lung cancer chemoprevention
References: Mascaux et al, Nakachi et al, Keith and Miller Review

Project 4: Predictors of Pulmonary Nodule Malignancy.
Co-Leaders: York Miller, MD, Anna Baron, PhD, Steve Malkoski, MD and Fred Hirsch, MD, PhD (basic)
Hypothesis: biomarkers can be identified and added to a risk model to determine which patients with pulmonary nodules should undergo invasive testing.
Discovery: Blood protein signatures and exhaled breath analyses are being developed as potential markers of early lung cancer.

Shared Resources:
Core A: Tissue Bank and Biomarkers Core 
Core Co-Directors
Daniel T. Merrick, MD, FCAP
Adrie van Bokhoven, PhD

The Tissue Bank and Biomarkers Core (TBBC) is the central repository of specimens necessary for the execution of the studies of the Colorado SPORE in Lung Cancer program. As an extensive resource for lung cancer related specimens, the TBBC also provides specimens to investigators at other institutions when there are adequate materials to accommodate these requests. (link to all)

Core B: Clinical Trials Core
Core Co-Directors
Robert L. Keith, MD
D. Ross Camidge, MD PhD

re Manager: Mary K. Jackson

The goal of the Clinical Trials Core (CTC) is to provide support for clinical trials designed and implemented for SPORE projects. The support includes assistance with trial preparation, regulatory issues, data safety and monitoring, auditing, conduct, and reporting. (link to all)

Core C: Biostatistics/Bioinformatics
Core Co-Directors
Anna E. Barón, PhD
Aik-Choon Tan, PhD

Biostatisticians: Dexiang Gao, PhD and Bill Feser
Bioinformaticist: Jihye Kim, PhD

The Lung Cancer SPORE Biostatistics/Bioinformatics provides support in the areas of biostatistics, clinical informatics, and bioinformatics to SPORE investigators. The Core comprises long-standing and new SPORE collaborators who provide expertise in study design, data management, data analysis, clinical informatics system creation, and bioinformatics data management and interpretation (link to all)