Will Rogers Institute Pulmonary Fellow Studies Early Detection In Lung Cancer
The Will Rogers Institute Pulmonary Fellowship Program supports promising researchers whose work bring about meaningful progress in the study of lung health. Josh Fisher - 2014 Will Rogers Fellow at the USC Keck School of Medicine Pulmonary Research Center - is no exception.
Co-directed by Dr. Edward Crandall, Medical Advisor to the WRI Board of Directors, the Center contributes significant advances in research related to lung injury and pulmonary edema. Josh's work under supervisor Dr. Alex Balekian, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at USC Keck School of Medicine, shines a spotlight on the importance of early detection in the treatment of lung cancer.
In a presentation at the CHEST 2014 Pulmonary Conference in Austin, Texas, Josh and Dr. Balekian shared data showing that the use of CAT scans for early detection can reduce lung cancer deaths. They are putting the finishing touches on a manuscript that builds on their oral presentation.
The presentation highlighted some convincing evidence. While lung cancer is the third most often diagnosed cancer among men and women, it is the number one cause of death from cancer in the same group. Although early screenings are available for the six other top causes of cancer, there is no screening offered for lung cancer.
Josh and Dr. Balekian demonstrated the value of screening, confirming that when CAT scans were used to detect lung cancer early, the number of curable cases rises. Their presentation clarified the need for early detection, pointing out that in addition to smoking, pulmonary fibrosis and family history are added risk factors. With 220,000 new lung cancer cases diagnosed every year in the U.S. alone, Josh and Dr. Balekian drew attention to the fact that 20,000 of these cases are potentially curable if caught sooner.
As a Fellow, Josh has also assisted Dr. Balekian in submitting five grant applications and continues to excel as a site coordinator for the Center's participation in a clinical trial studying the performance of a serum biomarker in determining the malignancy of indeterminate pulmonary nodules.
With the hope of future collaboration on lung research, the Will Rogers Institute thanks Josh as he moves on to medical school and the next phase of his career.