Grants - North Carolina - Designated Grants - 2016

Chad Pecot, M.D.

Funded in partnership with

the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina

utilizing Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Fund matching funds

While newer treatments for some types of lung cancers have improved patient survival, similar advances in squamous cancers of the lung, head and neck have been slow. Recent studies of the genes that characterize squamous cancers have revealed they are very complicated with no clear “smoking gun” way of attacking them. However the use of new therapies that activate the immune system has demonstrated exciting promise in squamous cancers.

We have found a new class of squamous cancers whose tumors take advantage of the immune system. We have created a list of genes that identifies patients with these types of cancers. This is the basis for a clinical trial we are developing. However, an important unmet need in North Carolina is an improved understanding of squamous cancers in black patients.

We believe that our list of genes will help determine whether black patients will benefit from immune therapies. We also believe that the amount of CD14 protein in their tumors, which is found on certain immune cells, will be helpful for a clinical trial we are creating. Building off of ongoing and upcoming clinical trials, the objectives of this proposal are to determine in black patients with squamous cancers whether our gene signature predicts for benefit to immune therapies already available to our patients. We also plan to find out whether the CD14 protein on these tumors will be useful for a clinical trial we are developing.