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Lung Cancer Research Foundation: Perspective from a funder, Dr. Antoinette Wozniak, Chief Scientific Officer

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Funder Perspective: Lung Cancer Research Foundation Antoinette Wozniak, MD, FACP, FASCO An image of Antoinette

Preface: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally [1]. Despite the dynamic advancements in lung cancer treatment, there remains a persistent lack of effective therapies. Organizations like the Lung Cancer Research Foundation play an important role in supporting researchers worldwide to pursue innovative studies with the potential to rapidly benefit patients. In our interview, Dr. Antoinette Wozniak, Chief Scientific Officer, provides us with an understanding of the Lung Cancer Research Foundation’s mission and invites all eligible researchers engaged in pioneering lung cancer research to apply for a grant from the Lung Cancer Research Foundation!  

Tell us more about the Lung Cancer Research Foundation.

The Lung Cancer Research Foundation® (LCRF) is the leading nonprofit organization focused on funding innovative, high-reward research with the potential to extend survival and improve quality of life for people with lung cancer. LCRF’s mission is to improve lung cancer outcomes by funding research for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of lung cancer. To date, LCRF has funded 416 research grants, totaling nearly $43 million, the highest amount provided by a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding lung cancer research.

What is your role at the Lung Cancer Research Foundation?

Chief Scientific Officer.

How much research funding is awarded annually, and what are the funding programs underway in 2024?

LCRF funds between $1 and $3 million in grants annually. The variance is dependent on funding available, as well as the quality of projects submitted for each of the RFPs. Click here for more information.

Are all four of this year’s grant opportunities available on an annual basis and will deadlines be similar next year?

LCRF’s core grant tracks consist of Leading Edge, Early Detection and Pre-Neoplasia in Lung Cancer, Understanding Resistance in Lung Cancer, and Minority Career Development in Lung Cancer. For the foreseeable future, these will be available annually and we do anticipate that LOI deadlines will continue to be in early March.

Could you kindly elaborate about the researchers and projects for whom particular grants are intended?

All tracks are designed to support early-career investigators; however, the Minority Career Development Award does expand its eligibility to include mid-career investigators.

 Are all of your funding mechanisms available to applicants globally?

Yes.  

What have you done to make your funding more visible and accessible globally? 

LCRF has a number of relationships with investigators, institutions, and funding partners that are international. We welcome submissions from around the world, and have funded grantees based in countries other than the U.S. We hope to continue and expand this.

What makes your grant program unique?

LCRF’s grant program seeks to fund the most innovative ideas to improve the lives of lung cancer patients. We include highly qualified, trained patient research advocates in the design of the research program, the RFPs themselves, as well as the grant review process.

Are there recent funding recipients that have research you are particularly proud to have funded?

We are proud of all our grantees. Many of them have gone on to obtain more research funding that has resulted in important scientific discoveries and career advancement. Just one example would be Dr. Mariam Jamal-Hanjani from the University College London Cancer Institute, who has published important work implicating air pollution as a cause of EGFR non-smoking lung cancer.

What makes a stellar application – one that stands out among all others?

We receive many applications. Some of the things we look for are novel research that has the greatest potential to benefit patients as soon as possible. This serves our ultimate goal of preventing and/or curing lung cancer. 

What advice do you have for researchers interested to apply?

We welcome all researchers that meet the eligibility criteria and are doing novel lung cancer research to apply for a grant. It is important, particularly with early investigators, that they have proper mentorship and institutional support so that they will submit competitive applications.

References

[1] World Health Organization Fact Sheet on Lung Cancer: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/lung-cancer

Acknowledgment

We extend our sincere gratitude to Dr. Antoinette Wozniak, Chief Scientific Officer, for kindly providing us with an interview and for sharing such pivotal insights. Special thanks also to Sheila Sullivan, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications at LCRF for the support with coordinating this interview. Furthermore, we wish to express our sincere appreciation to all those who work at the Lung Cancer Research Foundation and to lung cancer researchers for their invaluable efforts in this vitally important field.

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