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Karmanos researchers study the links between smoking, lung cancer and COPD

Karmanos researchers study the links between smoking, lung cancer and COPD

Doctors know that about 15 percent of smokers develop lung cancer. They also know that patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) -- also known as chronic bronchitis and emphysema --are at increased risk of developing lung cancer, even if they never smoked. What isn’t well understood are the connections between smoking, COPD and lung cancer.
 
To learn more about the factors that cause lung disease, researchers at the Karmanos Cancer Institute,   Wayne State University School of Medicine and Henry Ford Health System are studying the genetics of lung inflammation.
 
More than 4,000 current and former smokers (with and without lung disease) will participate in the recently launched INHALE (Inflammation, Health and Lung Epidemiology) study. The National Cancer Institute is funding the study with a five-year, $9 million grant.
 
“This is the first study to compare the genetics of inflammation in patients with lung cancer, patients with COPD, and smokers with neither disease,” says Ann G. Schwartz, Ph. D., MPH, Karmanos deputy center director and executive vice president for Research and Academic Affairs. Dr. Schwartz is the principal investigator of the study.
 
Dr. Schwartz mentioned that COPD is associated with increased lung cancer risk, and develops in the same group of people who are at risk for lung cancer, namely smokers. While there are currently no accepted guidelines for lung cancer screening, guidelines will be developed in the coming year and should include high-risk COPD patients. 
 
“The study will help define the association between COPD characteristics and the risk of lung cancer, and develop a genetic risk profile, thereby defining a high-risk group of individuals. The profile can be used to develop screening guidelines moving forward,” Dr. Schwartz says.
 
Participants will receive lung disease screening as part of the research project.
 
“Increasing our knowledge of the carcinogenic process and pathology of lung cancer will help us begin to develop more targeted treatments for lung cancer patients.” Dr. Schwartz says.
 
For more information about the study, call the INHALE Study Contact Line at 1-866-828-2339 toll free.
 
Lung Cancer Facts
  • Lung cancer is the single leading cause of cancer death in the country.
  • The disease accounts for more deaths than breast, prostate, colon, liver and kidney cancers combined.
  • Lung cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer in both men and women.
  • Along with current smokers, people who never smoked and former smokers are at risk for lung cancer.
 
Source: American Lung Association
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