Lung cancer funding needed


To the editor:

On behalf of the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, my late father, and my patients, I ask that you join me in urging Congress to support $60 million for the lung cancer research program within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program in the latest Defense Department appropriations bill.

In this past fiscal year, because of lack of funding, the research program had to reject 82 of 119 research proposals rated excellent or outstanding. I have personally served as a member and as the chair of several lung cancer research program panels and find this to be unacceptable. Too many outstanding proposals that could literally change the lives of our patients in the near term remain unfunded.

Lung cancer remains the country’s leading cause of cancer deaths among both women and men.

It’s been 16 years since my father passed away with lung cancer. Since then, we’ve approved lung cancer screening, developed effective first line targeted therapy for seven subtypes of cancer, and demonstrated the power of immunotherapy to improve survival rates.

We have made advances in understanding the mechanisms that drive lung cancer growth and metastasis. We are developing better biomarkers to identify these things earlier and less invasively.

Remarkably, my dad was in a pilot lung cancer screening program in the early 2000s which stopped because of lack of funding. Would he still be with us if he did yearly screens, or with the drugs we have today?

It is critical that we continue to fund lung cancer research, and to appropriate funding in proportion to the severity of this disease.

Brendon Stiles


The author is an associate director of surgical services at Montefiore-Einstein Cancer Center