Why Dr. Heymach believes immunotherapy is the future of lung cancer treatment.
As one of the world's largest cancer research centers, MD Anderson is leading the investigation into new methods of lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. Each patient benefits from the most advanced research, delivered as rapidly as possible.
Our current lung cancer research efforts include:
- Playing a leading role in the innovative Lung-MAP study – an umbrella clinical trial program that uses genomic screening to guide patients with advanced-stage SCC to the most beneficial targeted therapy or immunotherapy clinical trial
- The continued validation of aggressive local treatment – such as surgery, radiation therapy or both – following chemotherapy treatment for NSCLC
- An alliance with Bristol-Myers Squibb in an effort to extend the benefits of immunotherapy to all patients, including those with early-stage lung cancer
- Two ongoing clinical trials examining the effectiveness of PARP inhibitors in the treatment of SCLC
- Profiling 100 surgically resected early-stage tumors in an effort to define the baseline immune characteristics of patients with NSCLC through the ICON project
- Preclinical study evidence supporting clinical testing of poziotinib to treat NSCLC patients with EGFR and HER2 exon 20 insertions
- A partnership with Adaptimmune, LLC to develop novel T cell therapies for NSCLC, enabling a currently open Phase I trial for MAGE-A10 positive head or neck tumors
- Clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of specific therapies for each KRAS-mutant subtype of NSCLC, including a currently open Phase I trial examining the ability of CB-839 to treat the KL subtype of KRAS-driven NSCLC
- An open Phase I trial testing the effectiveness of an investigational immunotherapy, GSK3174998, in treating advanced solid tumors (recurring or metastatic), including NSCLC
Lung Cancer Research Initiatives
Our commitment to lung cancer research is echoed through two major programs:
Lung Cancer Moon Shot Program
Our ambitious effort to quickly bring new discoveries in prevention, early detection and treatment into the clinical setting
Through these programs and other lung cancer research, MD Anderson has:
- Completed a Phase II trial demonstrating the effectiveness of local consolidative therapy (surgery, radiation or both) following traditional chemotherapy for NSCLC patients with three or fewer metastatic lesions
- Collaborated with GlaxoSmithKline and the ORBIT Moon Shots® platform to identify and develop therapeutic antibodies that help the immune system fight cancer, which is now being tested in a Phase I clinical trial for its effectiveness in treating NSCLC
- Developed the Genomic Marker-guided Therapy Initiative (GEMINI) database, which contains the complete molecular, clinical and long term demographic data of more than 4,000 lung cancer patients
- Demonstrated that SCLC cells express high levels of PARP1, prompting the initiation of several clinical trials to test PARP inhibitors as treatment options
- Initiated the first-in-human study (currently ongoing) of BMN673 to treat advanced or recurrent SCLC solid tumors
- Initiated a Phase II trial (currently ongoing) examining the ability of a combination of veliparib and temozolomide to extend progression-free survival of SCLC
- Identified three subtypes of KRAS-driven NSCLC, KL, KP and KC, and demonstrated that each subtype has unique therapeutic susceptibilities
- Contributed to practice-changing medicine by demonstrating the effectiveness of paclitaxel (Taxol) and chemotherapy prior to surgery for certain types of lung cancer
- Developed four-dimensional simulation techniques to target lung cancer during radiation therapy
- Pioneered ways to reduce damage to normal tissue during proton therapy and IMRT
- Discovered a way to combine chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat lung cancer
Lung Cancer Screening
Clinical trials at MD Anderson have shown that low-dose CT screening reduces the risk of lung cancer by 20% in people at high risk of the disease.
Advanced Image-Guided Radiation Therapy
Intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) has shown early promise for treatment of recurrent lung cancer patients that are not candidates for surgery.
Chemo and Proton Therapy Combination
Together, chemo and proton therapy lengthen survival for patients with advanced, inoperable stage 3 lung cancer.