November 16, 2006

CONTACT: Olivia Fermano
(215) 349-5653
olivia.fermano@uphs.upenn.edu


World’s First Collaborative Lung Cancer Registry
May Reveal Secrets of Deadly Disease
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania Part of Groundbreaking International Initiative to Create a Database for Scientists Seeking to Prevent Lung Cancer

(Philadelphia, PA) — Despite the many advances that have been made over the past 30 years in the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer, one grim fact remains: the overall five-year lung cancer survival rate is only 15%. The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania has joined an international effort launched by Roswell Park Cancer Institute to potentially revolutionize the prevention and management of this disease.

The Roswell Park Cancer Institute, together with the Abramson Cancer Center and lung cancer experts representing 11 leading research institutions, have established the first international lung cancer registry – the Stacey Scott Lung Cancer Registry (www.StaceyRegistry.org). The goal of this global collaboration is to deepen the understanding of lung cancer at its earliest, most treatable stages. Daniel Sterman, MD, Director of Interventional Pulmonology, and Anil Vachani, MD, both from the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, will head the registry at the Abramson Cancer Center. The registry, founded and co-directed by pulmonologist Gregory Loewen, DO, will be housed at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY.

“The information on high-risk individuals screened at the Abramson Cancer Center will play a critical partnership role in achieving the registry’s goals,” said Vachani. “With the knowledge we gain through this registry, we’ll be able to intervene with high-risk patients before they develop clinically evident lung cancer. A system of shared information through a patient registry concentrated in one database will facilitate research into the characteristics and progression of lung cancer,” added Vachani. All of lung cancer research data will be organized at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and made accessible to scientists. Researchers will then use registry data to initiate studies that may answer critical questions, such as:

  • What changes take place in precancerous lesions that trigger their transformation into lung cancer?
  • What diagnostic test(s) would most effectively screen for those changes?
  • And do genetic biomarkers combined with risk factors, such as smoking, lead to the development of lung cancer?

Precancerous lesions for lung cancer, which previously have been undetectable, can now be visualized using technologies such as autofluorescence bronchoscopy (AFB). Understanding how precancerous conditions become cancerous has been difficult because no single institution was able to gather data from enough patients or to follow up patients for a sufficient period of time to provide clinically relevant answers. To resolve these issues, principal investigators from the 11 centers have agreed to contribute patient information to this multi-institutional, high-risk lung cancer patient registry.

The Stacey Scott Lung Cancer Registry is named for a previously healthy 38-year-old non-smoking woman who lost her four-month battle with the disease in 2005. Mrs. Scott was a patient of Dr. Gregory Loewen at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

“This has the potential to help prevent others from facing the situation I faced so that they do not lose a wife, husband, sister or brother to this disease,” said William Scott, Jr., Stacey’s husband. Scott, along with family members and colleagues, has helped to raise over $600,000 thus far to support the registry’s work.

The breakthrough collaboration includes preeminent lung cancer clinicians and researchers from the following 11 institutions:

  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute, headquartered in Buffalo, NY (registry direction);
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, CO;
  • BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC, Canada;
  • Academic Hospital Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA;
  • Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, Jacksonville, FL, and Scottsdale, AZ;
  • New York University Medical Center, New York, NY;
  • Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA;
  • The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH;
  • The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD;
  • University of Chicago Cancer Research Center, Chicago, IL.

###

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania was established in 1973 as a center of excellence in cancer research, patient care, education, and outreach. It is one of a select group of only 39 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States and is one of the top five in National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding. Home to one of the largest clinical and research programs in the world, the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania has 300 active cancer researchers and 300 full-time Penn physicians involved in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. For more information about specific types of cancer, cancer treatment, clinical trials, and research advances, visit the Abramson Cancer Center’s resource on www.penncancer.org or OncoLink at www.oncolink.org.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute
, founded in 1898, is the nation’s first cancer research, treatment and education center and is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center headquartered in Upstate New York. RPCI is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers. Roswell Park has multiple affiliate sites and collaborative programs in New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois as well as overseas in China. For more information, visit RPCI's website at www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or e-mail askrpci@roswellpark.org.

RPCI is a leader of past cancer breakthroughs, including the first use of chemotherapy, the PSA test for prostate cancer, and photodynamic therapy. RPCI also has significantly contributed to the field of smoking-related cancer research. The Institute’s cancer registry expertise began with the establishment of the international Gilda Radner Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry in 1981—a database of information on over 1,800 families from across the world with familial ovarian cancer.

PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals, all of which have received numerous national patient-care honors [Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center]; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.


This release is available online at
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/nov06/lungreg.htm