Although lung cancer arises in never smokers, it is currently much more common in smokers. For this reason, it is important to continue promoting smoking cessation programs and encouraging people not to start smoking. Not only will this help reduce lung cancer mortality, but it will also help reduce the incidence of several other cancers caused by tobacco carcinogens. We also need to consider lung cancer cases that arise in former and never smokers which comprise a significant number of lung cancer patients. For this reason, the study of tumour biology in these patient cohorts is a prominent research theme in the Lam lab.
One of the reasons for the poor prognosis of lung cancer is late diagnosis. Patients often do not present with symptoms until advanced stages which have a poorer prognosis than lung cancer caught early. Therefore, early detection research is critical. A team of Canadian researchers at the BC Cancer Agency's Terry Fox Research Institute, led by Dr. Stephen Lam, is working to develop a new multi-modal screening approach designed to catch early stage lung cancers and reduce lung cancer mortality. The results of this research will undoubtedly benefit high-risk patients worldwide.
The development of targeted therapies for lung cancer treatment has had a huge impact on improving patient care. However, despite producing initial tumour remissions, drug resistance seems inevitable, and patients often relapse. Thus, it is important to study the mechanisms of drug resistance in lung cancer cells in order to learn how to overcome them. In the Lam Lab, we have a group of students working together to identify genetic causes for resistance and I am hopeful this will have a positive impact for future generations of lung cancer patients.
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