"Although advances in medical, surgical, radiation, and diagnostic knowledge and technology are improving outcomes for those battling lung and chest cancers, we have the potential to do so much more. Achieving Institute status will help us accelerate the process so we can help more patients live longer and stronger through early detection and the latest therapies."
Malcolm DeCamp, MD
Every day, 500 people in the United States die from lung cancer, and approximately 226,000 new cases of the disease are diagnosed annually. While smoking plays a significant role in the development of a variety of thoracic cancers, a stunning 33,000 newly-diagnosed lung cancer patients each year have never smoked. Two-thirds of them are women.
At Northwestern Medicine, we have developed a program in thoracic oncology care delivery, clinical research, and education that draws upon the strengths of diverse clinical units. Building upon this solid foundation, we are poised to expand upon underfunded innovations and bring new hope to patients, scientists, and medical caregivers who battle lung cancer and other chest cancers and their complications. A new Thoracic Oncology Institute will focus our efforts on high-impact lung cancer research linked to innovative, compassionate, and personalized clinical care.
Translating Discoveries to Clinic Care
The proposed Thoracic Oncology Institute will establish and nurture a basic and translational laboratory effort fully directed toward lung cancer and other malignancies of the chest including esophageal cancer, thymoma, and mesothelioma. Such an institute will meld clinical and research endeavors in thoracic oncology into a cohesive program. Our goals include:
- Developing new technologies, procedures, and medications to better diagnose, stage, and treat thoracic cancers;
- Researching tumors to better understand their different design and function; and
- Applying these discoveries to the design of tailored, individualized therapies.
The development of more highly-targeted therapeutics based on tumor biology and each patient's unique physiology and body chemistry has the potential to vastly improve the care of individuals with lung cancer. However, these strategies require more labor intensive research efforts and state-of-the-art technology that must be supported by talented clinicians and investigators to yield results. The Thoracic Oncology Institute will provide the critical infrastructure required to implement these initiatives.
Our specific plans call for:
- Expanding clinical research through the creation of a tissue bank and database; initiation of early-phase clinical trials on promising drugs; and development of a grant program to encourage innovative research in thoracic oncology;
- Recruiting a high level scientist to build a robust basic and translational research program that will include initiatives for early drug development, lung cancer research recruitment, and growth in clinical trial volume; and
- Enhancing the patient experience through the addition of a nurse navigator, smoking cessation services, and the development of reproducible metrics to better measure patient quality-of-life indicators.
Northwestern has many of the building blocks in place to establish a Thoracic Oncology Institute that will, we believe, become an International Center of Excellence. A key component of our continued and future success is our clinical expertise. A variety of medical and surgical specialists contribute to the strength of Northwesternâ€™s comprehensive, interdisciplinary lung cancer program. Our team includes a number of experts providing clinical care, leading clinical trials, and initiating novel research projects all with the aim of improving the care of patients through simultaneous collaboration. Dedicated to delivering compassionate care, these healthcare professionals use their different perspectives to take a holistic approach that addresses not only the disease but also the whole person. This philosophy engenders tremendous support and loyalty from our patients, many who travel great distances to be seen by our thoracic oncology team. A new Thoracic Oncology Institute will allow us to develop an extensive and far-reaching collaborative network of thoracic oncology providers in the Midwest, ensuring that patients in our region have access to the best in the field.
At the Lurie Cancer Center, we recognize that every positive contribution we have made to the field of cancer care, research, and education has been made possible by donors who have entrusted us with their philanthropic support. We invite our loyal donors and interested friends to join us in establishing the Thoracic Oncology Institute at Northwestern Medicine and ensuring its success through gifts of outright support and endowment.
For donations and mail correspondence contact:
David SackVice President, Northwestern Memorial Foundation
Galter Pavilion, Suite 3-200
Chicago, IL 60611
More Cancer Institutes at Northwestern Medicine:
Cancer Biology | Cancer Survivorship Institute | Developmental Therapeutics | Early Cancer Detection Technologies
Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute | Skin Cancer Institute | Thoracic Oncology Institute