Lung Cancer

Investigator: Ji Qiu, Ph.D., Garrick Wallstrom, Ph.D. and Shilpa Shivakumar, M.D.

Collaborators: William Rom, M.D. (New York University School of Medicine)

Disease Background

Who gets it?
What are the symptoms?
How do we detect it now?
How is it currently treated?
What are the current challenges?
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the US.
  • People with lung cancer usually suffer from coughing, weight loss, shortness of breath, chest pain.
  • Over 150,000 people die from lung cancer each year.
  • Lung cancer among never smokers is the 6th leading cause of cancer deaths
  • Current detection methods use sputum samples, chest X-Rays or CT scanning to detect lung cancer. 
  • Current treatment includes surgical removal of tumor, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
  • Nearly $10 billion is spent per year on diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.
  • Current methods result in both missed cases and false positives, indicating a need for better screening tools.


Our Approach

Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. Current detection methods, such as CT scans often miss cancer cases or result in false positives that aren’t actually cancer. By combining CT scans and biomarkers in the blood that we plan to identify using our protein array technology, our goal is to develop tools to distinguish early lung cancer from benign lesions to spare unneeded surgeries and detect lunch cancer earlier and more accurately leading to better outcomes. We have completed the first step in identifying biomarkers for lung cancer.  Blood samples from 40 lung cancer patients and 40 cancer-free individuals provided by New York University were screened on the 10,000 protein NAPPA array to identify potential autoantibody biomarkers of lung cancer. The next steps will including verifying the biomarkers using additional samples, comparing these lung cancer biomarkers to biomarkers from other disease controls, and correlating these biomarkers with disease diagnosis, outcome and results from lung CT scans.