News Release

PHILADELPHIA – Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, along with the Institute for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and Marshfield Clinic Health System in Wisconsin, have received a five-year, $15.5 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant to improve lung cancer screening. Specifically, the focus will be on improving the effectiveness of screening, and increasing the delivery of screening in populations that experience disparities in early diagnosis, treatment, and mortality for this deadly cancer.

The funding will establish the Center for Research to Optimize Precision Lung Cancer Screening (CPLS), one of three specialized cancer screening research centers under the Population-based Research to Optimize the Screening Process II (PROSPR II) initiative by the Healthcare Delivery Research Program at NCI. The center will develop a shared model data for a lung cancer screening data repository to conduct research on developing and testing ways to prevent underuse, overuse, and misuse of screening for lung cancer nationally.

The new center, co-directed by Chyke Doubeni, MD, chair of Family Medicine and Community Health, and Debra P. Ritzwoller, PhD, of Kaiser Permanente, joins scientists from five health systems contributing to the NCI-funded Population-Based Research to Optimize the Screening Process II (PROSPR II) Initiative for lung, colon, and cervical cancer. PROSPR II promotes research focused on evaluating and improving cancer screening.

“Lung cancer disparities present an urgent public health crisis in most communities across the United States,” said Doubeni. “We’ve seen some hope in low-dose computed tomography screening to reduce the risk of lung cancer and also as an opportunity to promote smoking cessation treatments, but many questions remain about the best way to optimize the delivery of screening in our communities. I look forward to the collaborative work by these diverse institutions to tackle these issues in depth and develop best practices for improving the delivery and effectiveness of screening.”

Lung cancer is the highest cause of cancer deaths in the United States, taking the lives of an estimated 154,050 people annually. When performed in a timely manner, screening can find lung cancer at more treatable stages.

In addition to Doubeni, the interdisciplinary research team at Penn includes Mitchell Schnall, Anil Vachani, Despina Kontos, Katherine Rendle, Jason Roy, Fran Barg, and Michael Horst.

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $7.8 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $425 million awarded in the 2018 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Home Care and Hospice Services, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 40,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2018, Penn Medicine provided more than $525 million to benefit our community.

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