Tag Archives: lung cancer


Renowned surgeon joins VisionGate advisory board

VisionGate, Inc. a company that has developed a non-invasive test for the early detection of lung cancer, LuCED, announced that nationally renowned thoracic surgeon Dr. Harvey Pass has joined its Medical Advisory Board. Dr. Pass specializes in detecting, diagnosing and treating pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer. He is also a renowned cancer researcher widely known for identifying a mesothelioma biomarker called osteopontin, which helped develop a blood test to detect mesothelioma.

Dr. Pass serves as vice chairman of Research for the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, professor of Thoracic Oncology and chief of Thoracic Surgery.

“I am delighted to collaborate with VisionGate and to provide objective advice and opinion on ways to advance the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer,” Dr. Pass said. “Recent technologic advances hold tremendous potential and I’m happy to be involved in the company’s journey.”

Dr. Pass dedicates a significant amount of time to patient advocacy groups and research that provides new alternatives for patients. He was one of the first thoracic surgeons to use intraoperative photodynamic therapy (PDT) and laser-activated injections. He was chairman of the Lung Cancer Alliance’s Medical Advisory Board for five years, chairman of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Education Committee on Lung Cancer for two years, former board director for the Alliance for Lung Cancer, and is current chairman of the Publications Committee for the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and board director for the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute. He also co-founded the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, dedicated to funding research for a cure and providing support to mesothelioma patients.

Dr. Harvey Pass is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and Duke Medical School. He joins nine other members of VisionGate’s Medical Advisory Board including:

• Terence J. Colgan, MD – head of the Gynecological and Cytopathology sections of Mount Sinai Hospital and a professor in the Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology and Obstetrics & Gynecology departments at the University of Toronto

• Robb W. Glenny, MD – division head of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Washington

• Edward P. Ingenito, MD, PhD – assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

• Gene F. Pawlick, MD – former medical director at Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, Regional References Laboratories in Berkeley and Richmond, CA

• James Mulshine, MD – associate provost for Research and vice president director of Rush Hospital Translational Sciences Consortium

• Javier J. Zulueta, MD, FCCP – director of Pulmonary Services and associate professor of Medicine at the University of Navarra in Spain

• David Wilbur, MD, FACP – anatomic pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School

• Ralph Aye, MD – esophageal and thoracic surgeon at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle

• Harubumi Kato, MD, PhD – emeritus professor at Tokyo Medical College, honorary president of Niizashiki Central General Hospital and a professor at the International University of Health and Wealthfare

“We are honored that NYU’s Dr. Harvey Pass has joined VisionGate’s Medical Advisory Board,” Founder & CEO Alan Nelson, PhD said. “With his outstanding leadership and innovation in the management of lung disease, Dr. Pass is among the most recognized physicians in this arena. His perspective will complement the breadth of expertise that already exists on our board of world renowned physicians.”

For more background on VisionGate’s Medical Advisory Board or Board of Directors, visit www.visiongate3d.com.


Dignity Health in Arizona invests in VisionGate

VisionGate has received financial backing from Dignity Health in Arizona for development of a revolutionary, non-invasive test for the early detection of lung cancer, the world’s deadliest cancer. Patient sputum samples are processed on the company’s patented Cell-CT® system – aptly named because it takes an optical CT scan of individual cells to generate digital, high-resolution, 3D images of each cell for early disease diagnosis, rare cell detection and research.

The investment aligns with Dignity Health’s commitment to provide patients with one of the most advanced lung disease programs in the Southwest through its Norton Thoracic Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

“We are committed to bringing the most innovative advancements in health care to our patients,” President and CEO of Dignity Health, Arizona Service Area Linda Hunt said. “VisionGate has a very promising technology.”

VisionGate’s wholly owned clinical laboratory in Phoenix will provide analytical services using the Company’s LuCED® lung cancer test based on sputum (phlegm) samples from patients who collect three morning coughs at home. Published clinical data demonstrates a high degree of accuracy in detecting early stage lung cancer with few to no false positives. LuCED will be added to the Thoracic Institute’s lung cancer screening program as part of a formal clinical trial.

Dignity Health’s investment will support VisionGate’s goal to commercialize LuCED and make it available to the public in 2015 through the launch of the VisionGate Biosignatures Laboratory (VBL) headed by VisionGate’s President, Scarlett Spring.

“It is critically important to have the potential of our technology confirmed by an esteemed organization like Dignity Health,” VisionGate CEO Alan Nelson, PhD, said. “With support from Dignity Health, the Phoenix area will emerge as the epicenter for improving the lives of patients at risk of lung cancer.”


TGen finds clue to stop spread of lung cancer

Two cell surface receptors might be responsible for the most common form of lung cancer spreading to other parts of the body, according to a study led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

The hepatocyte growth factor receptor (HGFR/MET) and fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (FN14) are proteins associated with the potential spread of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to the TGen study published online April 8 by the scientific journal Clinical & Experimental Metastasis.

NSCLC represents more than 85 percent of all lung cancers, which this year will kill an estimated 159,000 Americans, making it by far the leading cause of cancer-related death. It has a 5-year survival rate less than 10 percent.

The invasive and metastatic nature of NSCLC contributes to this high mortality rate, and so finding the cause of this potential to spread is key to helping patients survive.

Therapies targeting MET and FN14 are in clinical development, which could lead to treatments that could help halt or slow the spread of this lung cancer.

“As the metastatic phenotype is a major cause of lung cancer mortality, understanding and potentially targeting these pathways may reduce the high mortality rate in advanced lung cancer,” said Dr. Timothy Whitsett, an Assistant Professor in TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division, and the study’s lead author.

Significantly, the TGen study found that MET and FN14 were elevated in metastatic tumors compared to primary lung tumors and suppression of MET activation or FN14 expression reduced tumor cell invasion.

“The elevation of these receptors in metastatic disease opens the possibility for therapeutic intervention,” said Dr. Nhan Tran, an Associate Professor in TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division, and the study’s senior author.

Dr. Glen Weiss, Co-Unit Head of TGen’s Lung Cancer Research Laboratory and Director of Clinical Research at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center, said, “This study identifies some targets that already have drugs in clinical trials, and helps put them into context for what might be a rational drug development approach for the treatment of this deadly cancer.”

Other institutes that assisted with this study are: the University of Arizona; St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center; and Humboldt Medical Specialists.

The study, FN14 expression correlates with MET in NSCLC and promotes MET-driven cell invasion, was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and grants from the St. Joseph’s Foundation and the American Lung Association.


TGen identifies key lung cancer enabler

Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) have discovered a protein, Mcl-1, that helps enable one of the most common and deadly types of cancer to survive radiation and drug treatments.

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) makes up about 85 percent of the nearly 160,000 Americans expected to die this year from lung cancer, which by far kills more patients than any other type of cancer; accounting for more than 1 in 4 cancer deaths in the U.S. annually. The 5-year survival rate for advanced NSCLC is less than 10 percent.

In the absence of more effective targeted therapies, most lung cancer patients currently rely on platinum-derived chemotherapeutics, such as cisplatin, or radiation therapy.

Previous TGen studies have shown that excessive activation of a cellular signaling mechanism known as TWEAK-Fn14 is linked to the survival and spread of cancer cells.

In a new laboratory study published in the scientific journal Molecular Cancer Research, TGen investigators found that a protein called Mcl-1 helps enable TWEAK-Fn14, which in turn helps protect NSCLC tumors from being destroyed by radiation and drugs.

“Our study demonstrates that the expression of Mcl-1 is necessary to promote the TWEAK-mediated survival of NSCLC tumor cells,” said Dr. Timothy Whitsett, an Assistant Professor in TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division, and the study’s lead author. “By deactivating Mcl-1, we believe we can give these lung cancer patients a better response to standard therapy.”

Employing a drug called EU-5148, laboratory researchers using lung cancer cell lines found they could block Mcl-1 function and halt the TWEAK-Fn14 cellular signaling mechanism.

“Inhibition of Mcl-1 function enhanced chemo- and radio-sensitivity in NSCLC cells. The depletion of Mcl-1 … was sufficient to abrogate the protective effects conferred on lung tumor cells by TWEAK-Fn14 signaling,” according to the study, Mcl-1 Mediates TWEAK/Fn14-induced Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Survival and Therapeutic Response, published online Jan. 27, and awaiting print publication on April 14.

“This work positions both the TWEAK-Fn14 cellular pathway and the Mcl-1 protein as potential therapeutic interventions,” said Dr. Nhan Tran, an Associate Professor in TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division, and the study’s senior author. “Our evidence shows that, if we can bypass these mechanisms, it will be more difficult for these lung cancer cells to evade therapies.”

The study concludes that additional research of Mcl-1 and TWEAK-Fn14 mechanism is needed, eventually leading to clinical trials and more effective treatments that could reduce lung cancer mortality.

The drug, EU-5148, was provided by Eutropics Pharmaceuticals, based in Cambridge, Mass.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Goodyear) also contributed to this study.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).