Cancer - Oncology

Lung Cancer Research

Mount Sinai's Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, and the Division of Thoracic Surgery are conducting a broad array of research studies and clinical trials to improve the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer and other pulmonary diseases and conditions. Our physicians and researchers are investigating the following areas in an effort to usher their discoveries to bedside care:

  • Biological indicators of aggressive early-stage lung cancer: This research seeks to understand the cellular changes that cause a slow-growing lung cancer to become aggressive. While CT scan screenings detect more early-stage lung cancers, such imaging techniques cannot determine how fast cancers are growing. Using lab animal models, our investigators have identified biological factors that drive tumor aggressiveness, paving the way for the development of new diagnostic markers and potential therapies that may help prevent or treat malignant tumors. New tests could be used to guide treatment decisions, including the extent of surgical removal of the cancer and the use of post-op therapies to prevent the cancers return.
  • Immune-fighting cells in the lung: Investigators are conducting basic research into dendritic cells, cells that patrol the body for abnormalities and teach other immune cells to fight cancer and infection. Mount Sinai researchers have developed sophisticated methods of identifying the location and mechanism of these cells to increase our understanding of the role of dendritic cells in regulating immune response, especially in patients with autoimmune diseases and immune deficiencies.
  • Integrating palliative and traditional care: Investigators are evaluating methods of combining palliative care approaches with the traditional management of critically ill cancer patients. Previous research has shown that outcomes are improved for patients who are seriously ill with cancer by formally integrating palliative care principles. Such findings have helped transform the care provided to patients in the intensive care unit.
  • Molecular pathways in mesothelioma: Mount Sinai is identifying important molecular pathways and key proteins involved with this deadly cancer. Transcription factors—sometimes referred to as sequence-specific DNA-binding factors—are key proteins involved in cell growth and survival and are known to drive many cancers, including mesothelioma. Our investigators are developing new tests to see which mesothelioma tumors have abnormal transcription factor activity, and we are designing novel drug therapies to inhibit these factors.
  • Molecular testing: Mount Sinai has been at the forefront of this detailed test of cancerous tissue, including DNA and protein level analysis, to detect gene mutations, such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which signals pathways associated with cell growth. We have been studying therapies such as the drug Erlotinib, an EGFR inhibitor that offers up to a 70 percent chance of patient response versus 30 percent with chemotherapy for those with EGFR. We now offer molecular testing for appropriate candidates at Mount Sinai, and continue to explore ways to enhance the testing and the efficacy of treatment therapies.

Lung Disease Clinical Trials

Mount Sinai is currently conducting clinical trials for the following:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): A study published in the European Respiratory Journal estimates that COPD affects 40-70 percent of those who have lung cancer and smokers with lung cancer are six times more likely to have COPD than those who do not have lung cancer but smoked an equal amount. Mount Sinai is participating in a few trials to examine the effectiveness of new brochodilator medications for managing symptoms of COPD. We also are involved in clinical research to improve the management of inpatients with COPD, with the goal of improving the transition from inpatient to outpatient care and reducing readmissions.
  • Interstitial lung disease: Mount Sinai is one of a small number of centers participating in a trial to test the effectiveness of the drug Pirfenidone in the treatment of IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis).
  • Lung screening for current smokers: The Lung Screening Program at Mount Sinai is currently seeking individuals for a research study. Subjects will receive a low-dose CT scan at no cost. Compensation for time and effort is also provided. Please contact us if you are age 50 or older and a current smoker at 212-241-2420.
  • Lung screening for 'never smokers': The Lung Screening Program at Mount Sinai is currently seeking individuals who have never smoked (called 'never smokers') for a research study. Subjects will receive a low-dose CT scan at no cost. Compensation for time and effort is also provided. Please contact us if you are age 40 or older, a never smoker and have current or former exposure to secondhand smoke at 212-241-2420.