The Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) has announced the recipients of the 2021 LCRF Research Grant on Disparities in Lung Cancer, awarding $300,000 in research grants for projects focused on disparities in lung cancer. This funding mechanism will provide $150,000 over a period of 2 years ($75,000 per year), and this year’s grantees are Loretta Erhunmwunsee, MD, of City of Hope, Duarte, California, and Mariam Jamal-Hanjani, MD, PhD, of University College London Cancer Institute in England.
Loretta Erhunmwunsee, MD
Mariam Jamal-Hanjani, MD, PhD
“Research funding on disparities in lung cancer is critical to understanding the reasons behind these inequities and designing solutions to address them,” said Katerina Politi, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology and Internal Medicine at Yale School of Medicine and Chair of LCRF’s Scientific Advisory Board.
Diagnosis and Survival in Communities of Color
Dr. Erhunmwunsee is Assistant Professor, Division of Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery; Assistant Professor, Division of Health Equities, Department of Population Sciences at City of Hope. Her research focuses on impact of social and environmental determinants on non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) diagnosis and survival in communities of color.
Her proposal aims to evaluate the social determinants that impact lung cancer screening adherence in minority smokers and to develop an artificial intelligence predictive tool to determine which low-dose computed tomography screening user will be at high risk for nonadherence. Completion of the proposal will allow for development of specific intervention programs that ensure vulnerable individuals are screened, as a lack of screening completion drives disparities in NSCLC rates and death.
EGFR-Mutant Lung Cancer in Never-Smokers
Dr. Jamal-Hanjani is a clinician-scientist and Clinical Associate Professor at the University College London Cancer Institute. Her proposal aims to determine whether air pollution is driving lung cancer development in never-smokers through alterations of the lung microenvironment, which subsequently may promote expansion of EGFR-mutant cells. By combining population data, air pollution, and lung cancer incidence, she will determine whether areas with more particulate matter drive EGFR-mutant lung cancer in never-smokers.