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Yale Hosts Annual Lung Cancer SPORE Workshop

June 21, 2024

On June 12 – 13, 2024, Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital hosted the annual Lung Cancer SPORE Workshop at Yale West Campus. This year’s two-day workshop was held in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation in lung cancer, which launched the era of personalized medicine in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), leading to a dramatic shift in treatment.

Chaired by Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, Ensign Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) and Professor of Pharmacology, Deputy Director, Yale Cancer Center, and Chief of Medical Oncology at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital, and Katerina Politi, PhD, Joseph A. and Lucille K. Madri Professor of Pathology, the workshop included presentations from featured speakers, panel discussions, and posters sessions. Invited speakers in the field of lung cancer came from various institutions including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School, The Ohio State University, Emory University, and UT Southwestern, among many others.

The first day of the event focused on the early days and the current landscape of research, treatment, and diagnosis in the EGFR and oncogene-driven lung cancer field as a whole, and also the future of the field and what can be done to move the needle for patients. In Dr. Herbst’s presentation, entitled, “20 Years of Progress in Non-small Cell Lung Cancer: The History and Early Impact of EGFR Targeted Therapies,” he stressed how the discovery of EGFR revolutionized lung cancer diagnosis and treatment, but also the need to better understand resistance, and who will best respond to therapies early on.

The second day focused on health disparities, the importance of early detection and screening, the role of immuno-oncology, and small cell lung cancer, and featured patient and community advocates who shared their experiences.

In her opening remarks, Nancy Brown, MD, Jean and David W. Wallace Dean of Yale School of Medicine and C.N.H. Long Professor of Internal Medicine, commented, “SPOREs are so important for translating basic discoveries into first in human studies, and ultimately into therapies for patients, and we are very grateful to be a part of that.” The Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Lung Cancer grant, one of three SPOREs at Yale Cancer Center, was first awarded in 2015 and renewed in 2020, and supports multidisciplinary research that extends from the laboratory bench to cancer patients in need.

Sponsorship of the event was generously provided by AstraZeneca, Regeneron, Black Diamond Therapeutics, Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Guardant, and Foundation Medicine.

Submitted by Renee Gaudette on June 21, 2024