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Research Update from the EGFR Resisters

As many of you know, in mid-2017 I co-founded the EGFR Resisters, a grassroots, patient-driven organization dedicated exclusively to changing EGFR positive lung cancer into a manageable, chronic disease.

EGFR Resisters focus on driving research

Since its founding, one of the main goals of the EGFR Resisters has been to accelerate research. Instead of becoming a 501(c)(3), which would allow us to fundraise independently for projects, we have remained a volunteer non-profit group. We have focused on creating partnerships with major lung cancer nonprofit advocacy organizations in order to work together to move research forward for our type of lung cancer.

So far, we have three active patient-driven research projects that we have selected and funded. Two of these are through our 2021 research award collaboration with the LUNGevity Foundation. Christine Lovly, MD, Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN and Helena Yu, MD from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY have each been awarded $200,000 for 2-year projects which are currently in-process, investigating mechanisms of resistance to current EGFR targeted therapy.

A new research project with Lung Cancer Research Foundation

We are so excited to announce our third fully-funded project! The EGFR Resisters has been working with Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) to design a new research partnership that will formally launch in 2022. However, we had a special opportunity in 2021 to work with LCRF to co-fund a pilot project for our partnership. The EGFR Resisters raised $75,000 and this was matched by LCRF to award a $150,000 2-year grant to Yang Tian, Ph.D. from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her project is focused on investigating how a specific pathway might impact the development of persister cells, which are cells that can survive drug treatment and lead to the development of resistance.

You can watch the video clip, LCRF Executive Director Dennis Chillemi, to see LCRF Executive Director Dennis Chillemi announce the awarding of this grant.

Fundraising to support our research goal

In 2022, the EGFR Resisters will work with LCRF to issue an RFP (Request for Proposal) for investigators who are working on projects that address certain unmet needs in EGFR positive lung cancer. We are planning to award at least two additional $150,000 2-year grants to the researchers with the best proposals. In order to do this, we will need to raise $150,000 in 2022 and an additional $150,000 in 2023 to fund the $300,000 total amount for both awards.

Since we were able to raise the $75,000 for our pilot project quickly due to our highly motivated members, we started the fundraising to reach our 2022 goal early — in the middle of 2021 — so that we would not lose momentum. Well, as of the writing of this article, we already have an additional $125,000 in donations that will go towards our 2022 goal of $150,000! This means that we are in a great position as we enter the new year. We no longer think it will take two full years to raise money for these two research projects, which is fantastic because this means we are accelerating research even faster than our original predictions!

Join the EGFR Resisters!

If you or a loved one are living with EGFR positive lung cancer, please consider joining the EGFR Resisters and help us make a difference for patients like you!

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