News Release: Emory Healthcare , Research , Winship Cancer Institute

Aug. 20,  2010

Winship Cancer Institute Participates in National Lung Cancer Trial

News Article ImageFadlo R. Khuri, MD, chairman of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory School of Medicine and deputy director of the Winship Cancer Institute

The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is one of 14 facilities to participate in the National Cancer Institute-endorsed Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium (LCMC). Winship joins 14 cancer facilities nationwide that will collaborate on research to catalogue the genetic changes in lung cancer. The lead institution is the University of Colorado. Additional participating centers include Johns Hopkins, Dana Farber, MD Anderson, Vanderbilt, and Moffitt.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the U.S., accounting for about one third of all cancer deaths. Recent studies have shown that as many as 50 percent of lung cancers contain genetic changes or mutations. Novel therapies are being developed to target these mutations. Early clinical trials suggest that these therapies, which are taken orally, have greater benefit and less toxicity than chemotherapy but only when administered to patients with specific mutations in their tumor.

Fadlo Khuri, MD, chairman of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory School of Medicine and deputy director of the Winship Cancer Institute, is the principal investigator for Winship on this project. “This is an important and far reaching study of the genetic components of lung cancer,” he says. “We hope to establish a fingerprint for each genetic change, so we can hasten the implementation of personalized medicine for lung cancer.”

Winship researchers will work with patients who agree to participate and who have been diagnosed with advanced adenocarcinoma of the lung. A team of researchers, including medical oncologists, molecular biologists and pathologists will collect data and tumor tissue from patients in order to test for a panel of genetic changes in the tumors.

“By studying this disease at the genetic level,” says Anthony Gal, MD, Emory professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and a key member of the LCMC team, “we will work to better understand the association between genetic changes, the patient and their subsequent diagnosis.”

Emory’s Biomarker Service Center, a federally certified laboratory focused on genetic and molecular testing, in partnership with other premier molecular laboratories, will conduct the tests. Researchers hope to determine the frequency of each genetic change and the relationship between the genetic change, the clinical features of the patient and their outcome.

“The new knowledge obtained in this study,” says Khuri, “will pave the way toward development of true personalized medicine for certain types of lung cancer.”

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About Winship Cancer Institute: As Georgia’s first and only National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center, the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University serves as the coordinating center for a vast array of resources in medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, and the subspecialties of cancer care throughout Emory University. Recognized as one of the top 50 cancer centers in the United States by U.S. News and World Report, Winship has also earned the Blue Cross Blue Shield Designation for Treatment of Rare and Complex Cancers. To learn more about the Winship Cancer Institute, its research, outreach, clinical trials, and faculty and staff, visit http://winshipcancer.emory.edu.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Blog: http://emoryhealthblog.com
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci
Web: http://emoryhealthsciences.org

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