Pecot awarded two lung cancer research grants

The V Foundation for Cancer Research and Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina, as well as the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, awarded grants to support UNC Lineberger member Chad Pecot's lung cancer research.

UNC Lineberger researcher Chad Pecot, MD, recently received two grants to support his lung cancer research.

Pecot is an assistant professor in hematology and oncology at UNC School of Medicine and member of the thoracic oncology program. His research focuses on lung cancer, with a particular interest in how RNA interference (RNAi) and immunotherapies can regulate cancer metastasis.

The V Foundation for Cancer Research and Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina awarded Pecot a $200,000, one-year grant to support his work to characterize the cancer biology of African-Americans with lung or head and neck squamous cancers as they are enrolled in clinical trials at the N.C. Cancer Hospital.

Specifically, Pecot’s proposal, called “Targeting the immune microenvironment to treat squamous cancers,” aims to determine if a gene signature developed in his lab can predict response to immune checkpoint inhibitors for African Americans with squamous cancers of the head and neck or lung. The specific signature was identified using The Cancer Genome Atlas dataset for lung squamous cancers, and identifies a subset of patients with chronic inflammation and poor survival. 

The grant was given as part of a program that aims to support lung cancer clinical trials, as well as translational research that is moving toward a near-term trial, in North Carolina. The proposals also must address disparities in incidence and death rates for African Americans.

Pecot's second research award was a two-year $150,000 scientific grant from the Lung Cancer Research Foundation to support his research project, “Targeting lung squamous metastasis with CCR2 inhibitors.” LCRF presented Pecot with the 2016 William Rippe Award for Distinguished Research in Lung Cancer at its annual Lung Cancer Awareness Luncheon in New York City on Monday, Oct. 17.

The foundation received a record number 180 applications – representing 120 institutions and 20 countries – for its 2016 Scientific Grant Program.

Through the program, the foundation provides funding for innovative research focused on prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of lung cancer. The foundation has funded 274 grants, providing more than $20 million for lung cancer research to date.