The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research charity, through the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund and in collaboration with the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina, the state’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to lung cancer research and education, is excited to award a Designated Grant for $300,000 to support lung cancer research to Jared Weiss, M.D., at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. This project focuses on small cell lung cancer (SCLC), the most aggressive type of lung cancer.
“We are grateful for our continued partnership with the V Foundation for Cancer Research to fund important lung cancer research right here in North Carolina and to bring awareness to this underfunded disease,” said Paige Humble, Executive Director of Lung Cancer Initiative.
Lung cancer, the deadliest type of cancer, causes more deaths than the next three cancers combined. African-Americans have the highest incidence and rate of lung cancer-related deaths and develop the disease at an earlier age compared to other racial groups. This is the third year the V Foundation and Lung Cancer Initiative have partnered in a commitment to fund research for lung cancer, specifically among minority populations in North Carolina.
The Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund was established in 2015 after the passing of ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott to support minority scholars and research dedicated to ending the disparities among African Americans in cancer incidences and death rates.
“Small cell lung cancer has always been particularly frustrating to me,” said Weiss. “It causes a lot of suffering and death. While chemotherapy can help, it does not typically last long. Research has made only very minor advances in the past several decades, and a cure is very rare. Clearly, new approaches are needed. These new approaches must seek not small improvements, but rather, dramatic ones, with the ultimate goal of curing a previously incurable disease.”
Through the grant, Weiss plans to utilize a new technology, CAR-T, which has revolutionized the care of some lymphomas and leukemias. CAR-T modifies a patient’s own T cells to recognize and attack cancer cells that display a particular marker. Weiss’ team has made a CAR-T for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme because it bears a particular marker, GD2. Since 60% of SCLC also has GD2, CAR-T directed to GD2 could provide dramatic tumor regression in a majority of patients with SCLC.
“Partnerships are key as we work toward Victory Over Cancer®,” said Susan Braun, Chief Executive Officer of the V Foundation. “We are excited to team up again with the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina to help lung cancer patients who are so disproportionately affected. It’s important to stop this aggressive cancer, and working together is critical to advancing the research.”
Among the highest-rated nonprofits by Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities, the V Foundation strives for Victory Over Cancer® with a strict adherence to sound fiscal management and transparency. The V Foundation holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is among the top 4% of cancer charities of all charities evaluated; and the Foundation is a GuideStar platinum-rated charity.
The Lung Cancer Initiative has funded more than $1.6 million toward lung cancer research since 2008. In addition to the partnership with the V Foundation, the Lung Cancer Initiative annually awards five disease-focused fellowship grants across the state and additionally provides grants supporting initiatives to facilitate access to screening, treatment and clinical research.
For more information about the Lung Cancer Initiative, programs, upcoming events or to donate, please visit www.LungCancerInitiativeNC.org
About the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina
The Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina specializes in connecting patients, survivors and loved ones with the medical and research community. The mission is to save lives and provide support to those affected by lung cancer through research, awareness, education and access programs across North Carolina. For more information, please visit www.LungCancerInitiativeNC.org.