Cancer Moonshot Grant Funds Research into Discovering Targets for Lung Cancer Prevention Strategies
Weill Cornell Medicine has received a prestigious Cancer Moonshot grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Immuno-Oncology Translational Network (IOTN) to explore the mechanisms that allow slow-growing lung cancer lesions to progress into aggressive malignancies and identify new therapeutic strategies to intercept the transition.
The competitive grant was one of only three awarded this year. The Weill Cornell Medicine investigators, led by Dr. Nasser Altorki, director of the Neuberger Berman Lung Cancer Research Center and the David. B. Skinner Professor of Thoracic Surgery, will receive up to $4.2 million in funding over five years to pursue their research.
The Cancer Moonshot initiative supports scientific research with the potential to accelerate the understanding of cancer and identify new ways to intercept its initiation and progression. Congress established the program in 2016 as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, with a total of $1.8 billion administered over seven years by the National Cancer Institute.
“Our previous work suggests that the progression from precancerous to aggressive lung cancer is associated with the development of a significantly suppressed immune response in the tumor microenvironment,” said Dr. Altorki, who also leads the Experimental Therapeutics Program of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and is a thoracic surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “With this grant, we will generate crucial insights into the complex interactions that take place between cancer cells and the surrounding cells, including the immune cells they must suppress to survive. We anticipate those insights will reveal a major breakthrough that could be tested in future clinical trials.”