The LTMP is a translational research program with 5 major goals:
- to define molecular pathways that contribute to the development and progression of lung and thoracic malignancies;
- to improve therapy for thoracic cancers;
- to identify individuals at high risk for thoracic cancer;
- to improve early detection of thoracic cancers; and
- to conduct clinical research studies in thoracic cancers.
Much of the Program's research focuses on lung cancer, but the Program also carries out research in esophageal cancer and mesothelioma. The Program's research interests and expertise encompass a wide variety of relevant areas, including the study of growth factors and hormones and their receptors in the human airway and esophagus, polymorphisms in cell cycle and DNA repair enzymes that may alter risk for lung cancer, identification of thoracic cancer biomarkers using proteomics and genomics, mechanisms of induction of radiation damage in cells and tissues, and lung cancer antigen discovery. The Program also emphasizes novel therapeutic trial development, using both new systemic therapies as well as new techniques for radiation delivery. The LTMP is also carrying out a SPORE-sponsored lung cancer screening study using multidetector computerized tomography (CT) in individuals at risk for lung cancer. Through the use of this valuable population, the SPORE has provided a foundation for projects in risk factor and biomarker discovery, as well as relationship of COPD to lung cancer. LTMP research projects are highly interdisciplinary in nature and involve investigators with clinical expertise, expertise in population studies, and expertise in the basic sciences.