At the Abramson Cancer Center, yesterday's lung cancer clinical trials have become today's lifesaving treatments. There's not an area of lung cancer study that we are not involved in. From immunotherapy and CAR-T cells to liquid biopsies and targeted therapies, our researchers are laser-focused on finding the next new lung cancer treatment breakthrough.
Find a lung cancer clinical trial
Lung Cancer Clinical Trials: The Abramson Cancer Center Advantage
We personalize lung cancer care down to your cells. Genetic tests map tumor DNA and help us better match the right treatments to you.
Our endless treatment opportunities are based on the latest science. And the breadth of our offerings shows we are exploring every possible avenue. Advancing science is as much about crossing off dead ends as it is discovering new paths — and our scientists and doctors collaborate to help us do that more effectively.
Our researchers are experienced, well-funded and well-connected. They are also skilled at finding the best treatments for patients — even when that means a promising new therapy at another institution. Read more about our approach to lung cancer treatment.
Abi’s Lung Cancer Journey
When new grandmother Abi Ford was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, she felt "utterly lost." Seven years and four grandchildren later, she is in remission thanks to an innovative Penn Medicine clinical trial. See Abi's story.
Lung Cancer Research Spotlight
Our Center for Precision Surgery is currently testing the impact of a technique that makes hard-to-find tumors glow during surgery. The intraoperative molecular imaging is known as TumorGlow. It would help with early detection and hopefully, better treatment success for our lung cancer patients.
Learn more about TumorGlow technology
CAR-T Cell Therapy
CAR-T cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy. It retrains the body's immune cells to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Penn Medicine researchers developed this pioneering technique that is now FDA-approved to treat certain forms of leukemia and lymphoma.
Our doctors are intensely interested in finding ways to harness the benefits of CAR-T cell therapy for patients with solid tumors, including lung cancer. They are collaborating closely with the teams that developed the treatment to push the science forward.
Lung Cancer Vaccine
Vaccine therapy works similarly to immunizations: It teaches the immune system to recognize cancer cells and attack them. Our doctors are trying to create a personalized vaccine for lung cancer:
- Doctors analyze a sample of the tumor to identify abnormal proteins in it.
- They engineer tumor-fighting cells to target those proteins.
- Doctors infuse these cells in the form of a vaccine back into the patient's body.
Learn more about vaccine therapy at Penn Medicine
Cardiac and Lung Injury Prevention During Lung Cancer Treatment
Our medical and radiation oncologists are working closely with Penn Medicine radiologists (medical imaging specialists), physicists and cardiologists to minimize the risk of lung and heart injury during treatment for advanced stage lung cancer. One way is by investigating the use of advanced imaging tools to better plan radiation treatments. These tools include:
- 4DCT: These scans model how the tumor will move during treatment.
- Dual energy CT: Currently, conventional radiation plans assume that lung function is the same throughout the lung. Dual energy CT scanners help define where parts of the lung may function better or worse than other areas. This information helps us avoid better functioning areas to maintain your quality of life after treatment.
- PET-CT: These scans better define where the tumor target is.
- Functional and cardiac MRI: Doctors can use MRI to see heart function. Using this type of imaging may help identify early injuries that radiation that may cause.
Our Tobacco and Environmental Carcinogenesis Program is studying the relationships between environmental exposures and cancer. There is a focus on prevention of tobacco and asbestos-related cancers including lung cancer, head and neck cancer, and mesothelioma.