A new public service announcement campaign has been launched this month to coincide with Lung Cancer Awareness Month, that urges people with lung cancer to speak with their doctors about getting a biomarker test at the time of diagnosis or recurrence.
Dubbed “Inhale for Life: Biomarker Testing” the campaign is sponsored by the LUNGevity Foundation as part of its broader efforts to promote precision medicine for lung cancer patients and provide greater access to the biomarker testing that enables it.
“Today's deeper understanding of the multitude of biomarkers associated with lung cancer—driver mutations like ALK, EGFR, ROS1, BRAF V600E, and immunotherapy biomarkers such as PDL-1 and tumor mutational burden (TMB)—has enabled scientists to develop life-changing treatments,” said Upal Basu Roy, M.D., director of translational research program/director of patient FoRCe at LUNGevity Foundation in a press release. “Since 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved 25 lung cancer treatment approaches, the majority of which are biomarker-driven—and this list continues to grow. Patients need biomarker testing to qualify for these treatments.”
The new public service announcement effort builds upon last year’s “Inhale for Life” campaign which sought to increase general lung cancer awareness. The video PSA features the stories of six lung cancer survivors from different regions of the U.S. and different ethnicity and socioeconomic backgrounds. Distributed via print media, social media and digital ads, the campaign tells show the lives of the survivors running marathons, opening a news business, or raising a young family.
The LUNGevitiy Foundation wants to better educate the general public about the scientific and diagnostic advances made in lung cancer that can detect the unique characteristics of each patient’s cancer and the ability to tailor treatments based on their molecular profile. Biomarker testing drives precision medicine by identifying which treatment options, including targeted therapies and immunotherapies, are best suited for each patient. Because lung cancer is not one disease, but a collection of different subtypes of the disease, each subtype may require a personalized treatment option.
“Lung cancer is at the forefront of precision medicine, yet far too many patients have not had the benefit of biomarker testing of their cancer,” said Andrea Ferris, president and CEO of LUNGevity Foundation. “The new Inhale for Life biomarker videos will increase awareness about the value of testing and encourage people to ask their doctor if testing is right for them. The hope that these survivors' stories represent—from that of Emily Daniels, a mother of two young children, to that of Juanita Segura, who owns her own CrossFit gym—will also help demonstrate the meaning of living well with lung cancer.”
The stated goal of the LUNGevity Foundation is to “to make biomarker tests a standard of care and ensure that testing is covered by insurance more than once in a patient's lifetime in order to achieve personalized treatment.” Support of the “Inhale for Life: Biomarker Testing” campaign was provided, in part, by grants from Bristol-Myers Squibb, EMD Serono, and Foundation Medicine.