Thoracic Oncology (Lung Cancer) Translational Center of Excellence

Researcher in lab

Lung cancer was once a nearly hopeless diagnosis, but with advances in research and treatment, we are starting to see better outcomes for our patients. The Thoracic Oncology Translational Center of Excellence accelerates our pace of discovery so that we can provide patients with meaningful options they need right now.

An Interdisciplinary Attack on Lung Cancer and Other Thoracic Malignancies

Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than from colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. Despite being one of the least-funded areas of cancer research, diagnostic and treatment advances are rapidly emerging — but nowhere near the extent that is needed.

Physicians at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center are poised to discover better and more extensive treatment options for lung cancer and thoracic malignancies through the Thoracic Oncology Translational Center of Excellence (TCE). The Thoracic Oncology TCE is helping to narrow the gap between the clinic and the laboratory, accelerating the pace of discoveries that will help today’s patients become — and remain — cancer-free.

Led by Steve Albelda, MD and Corey Langer, MD, this TCE builds upon Penn’s strong clinical strengths to rapidly move basic and translational discoveries—particularly novel and effective immunotherapies— to the clinic.

Leading-Edge Research Guided by Unwavering Hope

The Thoracic Oncology TCE is a multidisciplinary initiative that brings together experts from diverse fields. Devoted to rapidly moving basic and translational discoveries to the clinic, the TCE places special emphasis on the fields of immunotherapy and immunobiology.

Leveraging the unique scientific strengths and clinical infrastructure of the Abramson Cancer Center’s interdisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program (ITOP), this TCE:

  • Defines how the immune system affects the growth and spread of lung cancer
  • Develops novel immunotherapy approaches for both small cell and non-small cell lung cancer
  • Helps launch new clinical programs, such as an integrated smoking cessation/nodule detection and lung cancer screening clinic
  • Identifies best treatment practices in using proton therapy, in combination with systematic therapy, for lung cancer
  • Improves cancer detection during surgical removal of tumors
  • Refines molecular “fingerprinting” of thoracic cancer
  • Uncovers biomarkers and use circulating tumor cells to predict responses to treatment

Giving Opportunities

To learn more about how to support a Translational Center of Excellence at the Abramson Cancer Center, please contact Tricia Bruning at 215-898-1033 or