Two Young Investigators awarded $200,000 grants to make immunotherapy more effective for lung cancer patients

Young Investigator grants are funded by Lung Cancer Foundation of America, the International Lung Cancer Foundation and Bristol Myers Squibb

New Ulm, Minnesota, UNITED STATES

LOS ANGELES, CA, April 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Two young investigators, Triparna Sen, Ph.D. and Jon Zugazagoitia M.D., Ph.D., will each receive $200,000 grants to study ways to make immunotherapy more effective in lung cancer patients. The research projects target specific tumor cells that are either under- or over-expressed, therefore interfering with the immune system’s ability to attack the tumor.

The grants are supported by the Lung Cancer Foundation of America, the International Lung Cancer Foundation, and generously funded in part by Bristol Myers Squibb. The grants will support the following research:

Triparna Sen, Ph.D. | Assistant Attending, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 

Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is the most aggressive and metastatic form of lung cancer with an average of 33,000 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. annually. Currently, there are no approved targeted therapies, and chemo-immunotherapy has only shown modest benefit. Dr. Sen’s research seeks to re-engage the immune system to target and eliminate SCLC tumors by restoring expression of MHC class I. The goal is to increase the immune system’s ability to eliminate the tumor cells. The novel treatment strategy proposed by this work could be quickly applied to studies involving human subjects.

Jon Zugazagoitia M.D., Ph.D. | Attending Physician-Scientist with 12 de Octubre Hospital, Madrid, Spain

Immunotherapies are showing great promise in treating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by activating the body’s immune system—but some lung cancer tumors don’t respond well to immunotherapy alone. Dr. Zugazagoitia’s research is based on the IL-7R biomarker. He seeks to predict which NSCLC tumors do not respond well to immunotherapy because of an overexpression of the IL-7R biomarker, and to use that information to develop novel treatment strategies.

LCFA/ILC Foundation have contributed to more than $4 million toward lung cancer research to attract the best and the brightest to the field of lung cancer. The goal of the Young Investigator grants is to fund the best research to make the largest possible positive impact for lung cancer patients. 

About The International Lung Cancer Foundation (ILCF) aims to accelerate the pace of thoracic malignancy research, to inspire researchers to focus their careers on lung cancer, and to reduce the worldwide lung cancer mortality rate. Established in 2014, the ILC Foundation has provided over $5 million towards global lung cancer research. Through the power of collaboration, support from Pharma, and generous individual donors, the ILC Foundation is able to inspire hope through research. To learn more, visit

About Lung Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA)

LCFA's mission is to fund new research to diagnose and treat lung cancer. To attract the best and the brightest to the field of lung cancer, LCFA funds grants for young investigators pursuing a long-term project over the course of multiple years. To date, more than $4 million in grant funding has been awarded to lung cancer researchers. Lung Cancer Foundation of America is leading the fight against lung cancer through funding innovative and transformative lung cancer research.


Triparna Sen, Ph.D. Jon Zugazagoitia M.D., Ph.D.

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