Lung Cancer Initiative has awarded Lung Cancer Research Fellowship grants to UNC School of Medicine’s Jeffrey Jensen, MD, PhD, second year medical oncology fellow, and Ryan T. Morse, MD, senior radiation oncology resident.
LCI awarded five fellowships in 2023-24. The one-year fellowship provides $25,000 to support a fellow’s research and career development. The fellows will present their work at LCI’s annual meeting in March 2024.
“Our goal through the Research Fellowship Program has always been to support young doctors in training with seed money for pilot projects in lung cancer. If we get them interested in lung cancer early in their career, then perhaps they will use that pilot project to get preliminary data to support obtaining additional funding through an NCI, federal or other larger grant to continue lung cancer research as a career,” said Lung Cancer Initiative Board Chair Jennifer Garst, MD. ”At the very least, these recipients will have more awareness around lung cancer as they continue their medical path, and at best, they may go on to become thought leaders in lung cancer research and care.”
Jensen, working with UNC Lineberger faculty members Jared Weiss, MD, Alex Rubinsteyn, PhD, and Benjamin Vincent, MD, will conduct research investigating one of the most aggressive, if not the most aggressive cancer to afflict humans: NUT carcinoma.
“This award from the Lung Cancer Initiative is a generous acknowledgment that NUT Carcinoma IS lung cancer,” Jensen said. “We will use these funds to develop targeted, specific therapies for this devastating and essentially untreatable illness. Our sincere thank you to Lung Cancer Initiative for recognizing this unmet need and for helping us approach this challenge.”
Morse, in collaboration with Ashley Weiner, MD, and Loren Mell, MD, will focus on developing an approach to better predict which patients with locally-advanced non-small cell lung cancer might benefit from intensive therapy.
“With funding from the LCI grant, we wish to develop a predictive model that helps stratify patients likely to benefit from intensified treatment,” Morse said. “Identifying a select group of patients with a higher risk of cancer progression, and lower risk of dying from other personal medical problems, may serve as the ideal patient population to explore intensified therapies in future prospective trials for lung cancer, aiming to improve survival outcomes for this devastating disease.”
About Lung Cancer Initiative
As a leading non-profit supporting lung cancer research and education in North Carolina and beyond, Lung Cancer Initiative specializes in connecting patients, survivors, and loved ones with the medical and research community. The organization’s mission is to advance survivorship and provide support to those affected by lung cancer through research, education, and access programs. For more information and to learn about ways to get involved, please visit www.LungCancerInitiative.org.