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Emerging research in cancer

Cancer Management is an evolving area of medicine that is benefiting from new thinking and new approaches. That’s why you may be hearing a lot about different ongoing research topics through the media, in hospital advertisements, or in conversation.


Here are some of the current areas of research in lung cancer

Research in immuno-oncology

Immuno-oncology continues to be an emerging field and is currently being researched for lung cancer. Immuno-oncology works with the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer.

When the immune system detects a foreign agent in the body, it signals a process to eliminate it. This is how our body gets rid of things like colds and flu. Recognizing that the immune system could possibly do the same thing to cancer cells led researchers on a path to understanding how cancer is able to avoid being detected and attacked. Researchers have focused on ways to help the immune system do a better job at recognizing cancer and do what it was meant to do—search and attack it.

Research on genes

An understanding of genetic science continues to improve and with it comes a better understanding of how genes (or parts of genes) may cause cancer. This is a broad area of research that includes many different types of clinical studies.

Ongoing research is looking at biomarkers, or different types of genes and proteins, to see if certain genes are changed or are seen at higher or lower levels in people with lung cancer compared to those without lung cancer. The aim of biomarker research is to find which genes or proteins might play a role in lung cancer development, or whether they may affect a person's prognosis or response to cancer therapy. Other approaches are looking at the effects of changing the levels of certain genes or proteins in people with lung cancer, and whether that might affect lung cancer treatment.

This field of study also includes epigenetics (which means "above" the gene). Epigenetics is shedding light on how nutrition and other environmental factors affect how genes are expressed. It's also helping researchers understand new ways to treat cancer.

Another field of study, gene therapy research, has also been used in a small number of clinical trials. There are different ways to use gene therapy. One way is to replace missing or defective genes that cause cancer with healthy genes. Other approaches include injecting cancer cells with genes that may make the tumor more receptive to cancer therapy.

Research on lung cancer screening and risk factors

There is ongoing research on new ways to detect lung cancer as well as the reasons behind who is at risk for lung cancer and how lung cancer develops. Continued developments in this area will help others benefit from early detection and treatment, and will help to raise awareness for people living with lung cancer.

Research on quality of life and outcomes

Studies are trying to find out what factors can help improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with lung cancer. Health-related quality of life is usually measured using surveys, where patients report on aspects of their physical and mental health. A better understanding of factors that affect the quality of life of people with lung cancer can result in improved social, mental, and medical services.


Inform the ones you love that there may be an appropriate lung cancer clinical trial worth investigating.

NEXT: Clinical Trial Information


Are you or someone you know affected by lung cancer? Receive a kit in the mail filled with educational materials for you and/or your loved one.

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Watch the lung cancer video.

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Here are 3 questions you can ask your oncologist about emerging treatment research in lung cancer.

  • What should I know about ongoing research in lung cancer, such as immuno-oncology or research on genes?
  • Would I be a candidate for a clinical trial using emerging research?
  • Can you get me information about clinical trials for lung cancer?

Are you or someone you know affected by lung cancer? Receive a kit in the mail filled with educational materials for you and/or your loved one.

Sign up now >

Watch the lung cancer video.

Watch Now >