Global Research Grants

Atiqur Rahman, Ph.D.Atiqur Rahman, Ph.D. 

Partnership Award: PCF/IASLC Global Partnership Award made possible by AGDQ
Applicant Title: Postdoctoral Fellow
Institution: School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Newcastle, and Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle, Australia
Project Title: Discovery of efficient and accurate early stage biomarkers is crucial towards the treatment of early stage lung cancer.

This research aims to identify a small subset of microRNAs that can be used to identify tumors early during their development. This research could lead to identifying new diagnostic markers for the early detection of lung cancer. 

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death globally. According to the GLOBOCAN 2012 report, each year there are an estimated 1.8 million new lung cancer cases and 1.5 million lung cancer deaths. The high mortality rate is mainly due to the lack of effective early diagnostic procedures and because lung cancer is the worst treated of all cancers. As a result, most lung cancers are not diagnosed until later stages of the disease, when tumors have progressed and have spread all over the body. If lung cancer can be diagnosed in the early stages, current treatment options would have a much greater chance of being successful. Therefore, it is crucial to develop effective early diagnostic procedures to improve the prognosis and survival rates of lung cancer patients.

There are tiny genes, called microRNAs, which regulate most of the functions of the cells within the body. Some of these microRNAs are only found when cancer cells are present and are not found in healthy people. In addition, microRNAs are also found free and stable in all body fluids, such as blood, airway secretions and urine. This proposal aims to identify specific microRNAs that occur in these easily accessible body fluids during the early development of lung cancer. An additional advantage of studying microRNAs is that they are likely to be involved in cancer-inducing processes and can also be inhibited therapeutically.

This research can significantly improve the ability to diagnose lung cancer in early stages and enable more effective treatments, thereby improving the prognosis and outcomes of lung cancers in patients.

Phil Castle, PhD, MPH

Phil Castle, PhD, MPH

Named award: Awesome Games Done Quick grant
Institution: Albert Einstein College of Medicine
What he will study: The efficacy of a mobile phone screening device in diagnosing cervical cancer in Rwanda

At the 2015 Dialogue for Action® conference, Ariel Beery, CEO of biotech firm MobileODT, showed his cervical cancer screening device which is built on a mobile phone base. His invention caught the eye of Dr. Phil Castle, a world renown cervical cancer expert, who will now assess the technology’s ability to detect cervical cancer early in Rwanda. Cervical cancer is a disease linked to poverty because 76 percent of new cervical cancer cases and 88 percent of deaths across the globe occur in developing countries with minimal resources to vaccinate, screen or treat women for this deadly disease.


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