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Biodesign hosts international consortium on screening for lung cancer

To address the latest issues on the early detection of lung cancer, the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University will host an international research consortium in Scottsdale, Ariz., Feb. 25-26.

The International Early Lung Cancer Action Program, or I-ELCAP, is a lung cancer research organization with participation of cancer centers and medical institutions in 26 states and eight other countries whose mission is to reduce deaths from lung cancer by early detection and diagnosis through screening by computed tomography (CT).

"Early screening is all about saving lives," said Claudia Henschke is a research scientist at the Biodesign Institute and a physician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. "Representatives from facilities participating in the screenings are eager to come to Arizona to compare notes and get updates on the joint effort."

Lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer in America, resulting in more than 160,000 deaths per year. An estimated 85 percent of patients diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States will die from it within 5 years, claiming more lives than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined. But hope has been found in the early detection of lung cancer with annual CT screening of high-risk individuals. Annual screening with CT scans can find lung cancers in their earliest stage, when up to 92 percent can be cured. A recent study by the National Cancer Institute confirmed CT screening can significantly reduce the number of deaths from lung cancer.

Drs. Henschke and David Yankelevitz, who, like Henschke, also holds appointments as research scientist at the Biodesign Institute and physicians at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, will facilitate the 24th I-ELCAP event. They serve as the scientific and administrative leaders of the I-ELCAP study, collecting scientific data at each site, based on a common CT screening protocol. More than 54,000 at high risk for lung cancer have been screened thus far, making it the largest lung cancer screening study of its kind. The data is pooled with worldwide collaborators and contributes to their ongoing research regarding best practices for CT screening.

To explore possible synergies between two lung-cancer focused groups, the International Lung Cancer Consortium will hold its annual meeting concurrent to the I-ELCAP event. The consortium is an international group of lung cancer researchers, established in 2004 with the aim of sharing comparable data from ongoing lung cancer case-control and cohort studies. Organizers anticipate 150 lung cancer experts to attend.

"Holding these conferences together for the first time should expand perspectives of both groups and catapult the research forward," said Dr. Yankelevitz.

The I-ELCAP effort is now part of a lung cancer demonstration project for the new ASU Biosignatures Initiative directed by former Fulton School of Engineering Dean Deirdre Meldrum. The Biodesign-led initiative will continue to be at the forefront of a multipronged strategy for the early detection of lung cancer to save lives.

This is ASU's second year as host to the prestigious biannual conference. Among the agenda topics for the 2011 conference are: minimizing harms related to screening, understanding the results of the National Lung Screening Trial, development of future collaborative research.

The main venue for the two-day meetings will be the Millennium Resort Scottsdale McCormick Ranch, 7401 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, Ariz.


Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
Arizona State University

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