Johns Hopkins Grant Project Looks at Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment Resistances


Credit: Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center received a $3.1 million grant to study the resistance of limited stage small cell lung cancer to a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy (chemoradiation).

The National Institutes of Health awarded the grant to researchers from The Johns Hopkins University, co-led by Luigi Marchionni, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of oncology, Christine Hann, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of oncology, and Phuoc Tran, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of radiation oncology and molecular radiation sciences. The team includes Andrew Ewald, Ph.D., professor of cell biology, Kathleen Gabrielson, D.V.M, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular and comparative pathobiology, and John Wong, Ph.D., director of the Division of Medical Physics in the Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences.

The project, titled “Bioinformatic-Chemical Approach to Credential Molecular Targets to Combat Rapid Chemo-Radiation Resistance in SCLC,” will run for five years.

In the grant proposal that was awarded, the researchers said their work would have a direct impact on the causes and possible treatment for chemoradiation resistance in small cell lung cancer. They also hope to gain a broader understanding of chemoradiation resistance in other cancers and find new ways to target treatment resistance.

Small cell lung cancer is a fast-growing cancer that spreads to other areas of the body much more quickly than other types of lung cancer. Surgery is less frequently used for this type of lung cancer.

Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for small cell lung cancer, as these medicines circulate throughout the body killing lung cancer cells that may have spread outside the lung. Radiation therapy is frequently used in combination with chemotherapy when the tumor is confined to the lung and other areas inside the chest.

Most patients respond to initial treatment, but the return of the disease due to chemoradiation resistance is almost universal.