Lung Cancer Alliance Commends National Cancer Institute for Its New Scientific Framework for Small Cell Lung Cancer


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The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently presented to Congress a scientific framework that lays out important steps needed to make advances in small cell lung cancer.

The report, entitled “Scientific Framework for Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)” was mandated by the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2013, which requires the NCI to develop new research plans to provide strategic direction and guidance to accelerate progress against cancers with 5-year relative survival rates below 50% and an incidence of death of at least 30,000 people a year. The statute required NCI to give priority to pancreatic and lung cancers.

“[The report] marks an important day for the lung cancer community,” said Lung Cancer Alliance President and CEO Laurie Fenton-Ambrose. “Our long-sought effort to devise a national strategy to improve lung cancer’s survival rate has taken a concrete step forward.”

While the report focuses on small cell lung cancer, the scientific framework also brings research momentum to the reshaping of strategies for all lung cancers. The report considered questions related to basic, translational, and clinical research and offered recommendations to improve prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease.

Five initiatives were recommended:

  • Develop better research tools for the study of small cell lung cancer that optimize the collection of tumor tissue specimens representing distinct phases of SCLC and developing new tumor models that reflect the phase of SCLC found in the clinic.
  • Develop focused, comprehensive genomic profiling to improve the basic understanding of the frequency, distribution, and range of molecular abnormalities that exist both at diagnosis and following therapeutic relapse.
  • Develop new diagnostic approaches for populations at high risk of developing SCLC.
  • Facilitate novel therapeutic developments that focus on specific molecular vulnerabilities of SCLC.
  • Define the mechanisms that allow for rapid response to initial treatment as well as the resistance to treatments. ■


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