Funding will support research to evaluate whether targeting inflammatory monocytes through the use of CCR2 inhibitors will blunt or prevent metastasis in squamous cell lung cancer.

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Chad Pecot, MD

Free to Breathe has awarded UNC Lineberger’s Chad Pecot, MD, a three-year, $400,000 Metastasis Research Grant to support his research investigating a novel immunotherapy approach in the treatment of squamous cell lung cancer metastasis.

The project, “Targeting Lung Squamous Metastasis with CCR2 Inhibitors,” will evaluate whether targeting inflammatory monocytes through the use of CCR2 inhibitors will blunt or prevent metastasis in squamous cell lung cancer. CCR2 inhibitors work by stopping the recruitment of monocytes, which cancers can exploit to promote metastasis. This approach may be synergistic with PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors that help turn on the body’s defenses against cancer.

“I am extremely grateful for Free to Breathe’s support of my research,” said Pecot, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. “Although targeted therapies have been developed to treat specific mutations of adenocarcinoma of the lung, similar advances in the treatment of squamous lung cancers have been lacking. My goal is that the insights we generate with this research will lead to a clinical trial to target inflammatory monocytes in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors.”