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Dr. Jack West is a medical oncologist and thoracic oncology specialist, and Executive Director of Employer Services at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, CA.

Looking for Genetic Differences in Never-Smokers who Develop Lung Cancer
Sat, 08/08/2009 - 09:43
Howard (Jack) West, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Medical Oncology, Executive Director, Employer Services, Founder, President and CEO of GRACE

Last year I highlighted a research program out of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NYC that has been trying to identify molecular genetic factors in never-smokers who develop lung cancer that can help provide explanations and even perhaps a better sense of why anyone, including smokers, may be at higher risk for developing lung cancer than others. The study involves just a questionnaire about tobacco and other exposures, and also collecting a couple of vials of blood that can be drawn at your local doctors office and then sent, postage paid, to a lab for genetic analysis.

I saw the investigator leading this effort, Dr. William Pao, at the World Conference on Lung Cancer this past week. He has since been recruited from Memorial Sloan Kettering to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, where he's leadinga growing lab-based effort to better understand the genetic underpinnings of lung cancer. The blood collection and genetic analysis is bearing fruit, and he and his colleagues are in the process of writing some of their early findings from this project. They've enrolled many people who found out about this work here, and I've also told my never-smokers about it and encouraged them to consider participating. Who wouldn't want to help understand why some people are at a higher risk for developing lung cancer.

You can find out more information at the website or by e-mailing


One new development is that the survey is now available online, making it even easier.

Want to know how you can help move the field of cancer research forward? Dr. Pao and his colleagues are at the forefront of this work, and it's never been easier to contribute to work that can have direct effects on identifying those at risk and even potentially finding new treatments.

If you're eligible, please consider participating.

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