The Cause

The Chicago Lung Run is held each year in support of lung cancer survivors and their families, and in memory of those who have lost their lives to lung cancer, the leading cancer killer in America. The mission of the Lung Run is to raise awareness of lung cancer and to raise much-needed funds for lung cancer research.

The Chicago Lung Run will benefit cutting-edge lung cancer research through:

Your Donations at Work

Proceeds from the Chicago Lung Run are funding important research projects around the country.

The 2016 race funded research studies including:

Nadya Dimitrova, PhD | Yale University - Making first strides towards elucidating the importance of long noncoding RNAs in lung cancer

Over the past decades, the search for drivers and therapeutic targets in cancer has primarily focused on protein-coding genes, which account for less than 2% of the human genome. Recent technological advances in deep sequencing have revealed that over 70% of mammalian genomes is actively transcribed into thousands of long transcripts that do not encode for proteins. Until recently regarded as “junk DNA”, there is a growing recognition that this new class of genes, called long noncoding RNAs, regulates a wide range of biological processes. The importance of long noncoding RNAs in influencing disease states, such as cancer, however, remains vastly understudied. 

Ralph Weichselbaum, MD | The University of Chicago - Overcoming treatment resistance to lung cancer

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide and the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Approximately 221,000 new diagnoses and over 158,000 deaths from lung cancer occur annually. Radiotherapy is a key component of lung cancer treatment, often in combination with surgery and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, treatment failure occurs in up to 60% of localized lung cancers and contributes significantly to patient death. Treatment failure is caused in part by the tumor’s ability to resist both radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Methods to increase tumor sensitivity to both radiotherapy and chemotherapy are critical to improve treatment effectiveness and patient survival.

The 2015 race funded the following research:

David Yu | Emory University - Exploiting the replication stress response in small cell lung cancer

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is the most lethal type of lung cancer with limited treatment options.  One major concern is that many patients with SCLC ultimately develop resistance to treatment. Dr. Yu's work is focused on identifying genes that are critical for mediating treatment resistance. Through his project, Dr. Yu and his team aims to characterize the activities of these genes and determine whether they can be therapeutically targeted. By better understanding the mechanisms through which these genes function, Dr. Yu ultimately hopes to develop better targeted therapies and improve the efficacy of treatment for patients with small cell lung cancer.

Vaishali Kapoor | Washington University in St. Louis - Immunotherapy targeting radiation-induced neoantigens, a novel strategy to treat lung cancer

Despite advances in current treatments, there is a major need to develop more effective, less toxic therapies for controlling lung cancer. Dr. Kapoor's project is focused on using X-rays to guide antibodies specifically to lung cancer cells while sparing normal tissue. In prior work, Dr. Kapoor and her team have discovered several radiation-inducible molecules that play a role in the activation of the immune system. Targeting these molecules with engineered antibodies may help to activate a systemic immune response against lung cancer cells. By targeting only the cancer cells, such an approach would minimize non-specific side-effects and provide an alternative to traditional, more toxic chemotherapeutic treatments.

The 2014 race funded the following research:

Targeting of Cell-Cell Adhesion in NSCLC as a Novel Therapeutic Approach
Andrew Beardsley, MD, PhDUniversity of California, San Francisco

One type of investigational therapy for metastatic lung cancer involves blocking the ability of cells to adhere to underlying connective tissue, known as extracellular matrix. Previous research has shown that blocking these cell-matrix adhesions in mouse models of cancer can delay tumor growth and progression. However, several clinical trials investigating the blockade of these same adhesions in cancer patients have failed. Dr. Beardsley’s work aims to test the hypothesis that blocking cell-cell adhesion, in addition to cell-matrix adhesion, will overcome the resistance to therapies that was previously seen in human studies. His research will systematically test this hypothesis by studying the expression of different classes of cell adhesion molecules and by studying the signaling pathways that are involved in cell-cell adhesion in non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC).


The 2013 race fully funding the following research:

BET bromodomain inhibitor resistance in LKB1 deficient mutant KRAS NSCLC
Takeshi Shimamura, PhD: Loyola University Chicago

Between 15-30% of patients with NSCLC have tumors driven by the KRAS oncogene. Dr. Shimamura is focusing on two related proteins, LKB1 and Myc, regulating growth in tumors with KRAS mutations. His team will be investigating a new epigenetic drug that targets many Myc-related genes, and analyzing how LKB1 and KRAS signaling affects tumor responses to this drug. Using preclinical models, Dr. Shimamura will develop strategies to overcome resistance to this drug in mutant KRAS NSCLC with LKB1 mutations, guiding translation to early-stage clinical trials.


The 2012 race helped fund the following research:

The Role of ERBB2 and ERBB3 in Resistance to Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in EGFR Mutant Lung Cancer
Xiaoling Song, PhD; Yale University Cancer Center

Dr. Song’s research is focused on improving treatment for a subset of non-small cell lung cancer patients with tumors harboring EGFR mutations, representing approximately 15% of patients. Seventy percent of tumors with EGFR mutations respond to treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) such as erlotinib and gefitinib. However it is unclear why some of these patients do not respond to treatment, and all patients eventually become resistant on average within a year. Dr. Song is investigating how the other members of the EGFR family (ERBB2 and ERBB3) can impact EGFR signaling using both pre-clinical models and drugs to block their function. Knowledge gained from this study will help to improve EGFR-directed therapies and guide more effective strategies to treat mutant EGFR-mediated lung adenocarcinomas.


The 2011 race helped fund the following research:

Characterization of CRKL as a novel resistance mechanism to ALK inhibitors
Magda Stumpfova, PhD; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The ALK inhibitor crizotinib (Xalkori) has shown to be very effective in lung cancer patients harboring ALK mutations, including the EML4-ALK fusion (3-7% of patients). However, as with other targeted therapies, patients become resistant to treatment. Dr. Stumpfova’s project will identify and characterize resistance mechanisms that develop to ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), focusing on a new target, CRKL. She will study how CRKL leads to ALK TKI resistance, validate whether this resistance mechanism also occurs in NSCLC patients that have developed acquired resistance to crizotinib, and test strategies to overcome this resistance mechanism.


The 2009 race helped fund the following research:
Serum proteomics on patients treated with erlotinib
Mary Jo Fidler, MD; Rush University Medical Center

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one of 2 types of lung cancer. It accounts for 85 – 90% of all lung cancers. People diagnosed with NSCLC may respond differently to different types of treatment for NSCLC. Dr. Fidler seeks to identify biomarkers, or molecules, in cells and fluids that can help predict an individual’s response to a certain treatment for NSCLC. Ultimately, this research will help the medical community treat NSCLC more effectively.

Proteomic Analysis of Serum and Tumor Tissue in Small Cell Lung Cancer
Marta Batus, MD; Rush University Medical Center

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is one of 2 types of lung cancer, and about 10-15% of all lung cancers are SCLC. Dr. Batus is studying molecules found in blood and tissue (called biomarkers) that are associated with SCLC. Specifically, Dr. Batus’ research aims to identify: 1) biomarkers that are characteristic of small cell lung cancer; 2) biomarkers that will predict response to chemotherapy and resistance to treatment for SCLC; 3) biomarkers that will predict survival in SCLC; and 4) biomarkers that predict the likelihood of the SCLC spreading to the brain. This research will ultimately help the medical community detect and treat SCLC more effectively.

2008 Research