The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University has been awarded a 5-year, $9.7 million Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study new approaches for lung cancer treatment. It is reportedly the only grant of its kind to be awarded in the state of Georgia and one of only four SPORE grants in the United States dedicated to lung cancer.
Suresh S. Ramalingam, MD
Haian Fu, PhD
Led by Suresh S. Ramalingam, MD, and Haian Fu, PhD, this unique translational cancer research program will support an elite team of Winship investigators in the fields of immunology, pharmacology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, and pathology to address major therapeutic challenges faced by patients with lung cancer.
“This Lung Cancer SPORE grant will allow us to develop truly novel approaches for lung cancer patients and to improve their outcomes,” said Walter J. Curran, Jr, MD, Winship’s Executive Director and one of the investigators on this project.
“We will investigate how to improve immunotherapy for patients, how to test novel targeted therapies to overcome resistance, and how to accelerate new treatment paradigms,” added Dr. Ramalingam, Winship’s Deputy Director and contact principal investigator for the new grant.
“Guided by urgent clinical needs, the multidisciplinary team of physician and basic scientists will work together not only to address current challenges, but also to develop the next generation of innovative therapeutic strategies for patients with cancer,” stated Dr. Fu, a multiprincipal investigator of the grant and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology. He also leads Winship’s Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics Program along with Dr. Ramalingam.
Dr. Ramalingam explained that there are challenges with immunotherapy and targeted therapies currently being used to treat patients with lung cancer. “Immunotherapy only works for a subset of patients,” he said. “Our goal is to understand why some patients do well and what we can do to benefit a greater group of patients.”
In addition to Drs. Ramalingam, Fu, and Curran, other key contributors to the NCI SPORE grant (P50CA217691) from the National Institutes of Health include the following Winship investigators: Drs. Rafi Ahmed, Madhusmita Behera, Zhengjia Chen, Xingming Deng, Felix Fernandez, Douglas Graham, Anthea Hammond, Michael Kutner, Adam Marcus, Taofeek Owonikoko, Rebecca Pentz, and Gabriel Sica. ■