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EGFR Resisters/LUNGevity fund lung cancer research

Mar. 18, 2021, 9:10 AM


by Tom Wilemon

Christine Lovly, MD, PhD, associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology and Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, is one of two inaugural recipients of the EGFR Resisters/LUNGevity Lung Cancer Research Award.

Christine Lovly, MD, PhD

This new award program, driven by EGFR Resisters — a grassroots, patient-led group composed of more than 2,500 patients and caregivers from more than 75 countries — supports research that seeks to substantially improve outcomes for the approximately 23% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors have an EGFR-positive mutation.

The two awards total $200,000 each for a two-year term. The funds were raised by EGFR Resisters, which was founded in August 2017 by six patients and one caregiver.

The funding will support Lovly’s research on “Targeting drug tolerant states plus DNA damage to block osimertinib resistance.”

The recipient of the other award is Helena Yu, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The funding will support her research into “Molecular characterization of lineage plasticity,” which is related to the histology of the lung cancer changing from adenocarcinoma to small cell or squamous cell cancer as a mechanism of resistance to EGFR inhibitors.

“As EGFR lung cancer patients and advocates, we are extremely excited about these research awards, which address two of the more pressing concerns in our community,” said Sarah Christ and Julie Swedberg, members of the EGFR Resisters who participated in the award review process.

“Every day we watch fellow patients struggle with osimertinib resistance or small cell transformation. We are hopeful that partnering with researchers in these two areas will lead to possible treatment options that dramatically improve outcomes for patients like us.”

In the U.S., more than 20,000 people are diagnosed with EGFR-positive lung cancer each year.

“Through the funded proposals, we will investigate two major areas of unmet need in the treatment of EGFR-mutated lung cancer, and we are confident that this partnership between patients, clinical/translational researchers and advocacy organizations will enable cutting-edge research in a collaborative, team-based manner,” Lovly said.

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