New Research To Address Pressing Question: Will Early Lung Cancer Detection Lead to Tobacco Cessation?

Weill Cornell Medical College to Receive $3.6 Million for CT Screening Research

Apr 26, 2004


A new screening technology that could detect lung cancer much earlier than ever before was funded today through matching grants of $1.8 million respectively from the American Legacy Foundation and the UK's Medicsight Foundation. Weill Medical College of Cornell University, an international leader in CT screening for lung cancer detection, will conduct the research.

The donation will support a 4,000-patient study whose goal is to demonstrate that CT screening for lung cancer can be effectively linked to smoking-cessation programs to enhance the motivation for people to stop smoking. The study, which will begin in June, will use unique advanced image analysis software.

"We want to make screening programs an economic and life-saving reality," says Dr. Claudia Henschke, the study's principal investigator and one of the world's leading authorities on CT screening for lung cancer. "The International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP) is proving that CT screening is an effective tool for early diagnosis of lung cancer. This newly funded study represents a unique opportunity to understand how to best increase smoking cessation in the context of CT screening. At the same time, we will be incorporating and developing advanced image processing software to make screening as effective as possible."

Dr. Henschke directs the Lung Cancer Screening Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she is professor of radiology and division chief of chest imaging.

The American Legacy Foundation—the only national organization solely focused on tobacco prevention and cessation—and Medicsight Foundation, which provides research funds for medical imaging, share Dr. Henschke's interest in determining if participation in early detection programs would lead more smokers to quit.

"The American Legacy Foundation knows that science eventually will find far better ways to detect and treat lung cancer," said Cheryl G. Healton, Dr.P.H. and president and CEO of the Foundation. "The pressing question in the minds of many is whether or not CT screenings for lung cancer will encourage smokers to quit or make them put off this decision even longer. With lung cancer being the leading cause of cancer death in this nation, the Foundation is especially interested in answering this vexing question."

Based in the United Kingdom, Medicsight Foundation—whose patron is HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO with Stephen A. Forsyth, Tim Paterson-Brown, and Steven C. Rockefeller Jr. serving as Trustees—provides funds for medical research specifically to improve medical-imaging technology and software. It supports advancements in methods that detect common fatal diseases in their earliest stages.

The Medicsight Foundation donation was presented to Dr. Henschke during the 10th International Conference on Screening for Lung Cancer at Weill Cornell.

"The Medicsight Foundation recognizes the need for teamwork in lung cancer. We know that primarily lung cancer is the result of smoking," Rockefeller says, "but we also know that smokers need help—and teamwork—if they are to succeed in breaking their damaging addiction. When you go it alone, you have a one in 12 chance of stopping smoking. Support can improve that chance."

About Weill Cornell Medical College

Founded in 1898, Cornell University Medical College—now known as the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University—has long ranked among the leading medical schools in the United States. From the start, the Medical College has followed an educational philosophy that emphasizes the importance of combining a strong basic foundation in the medical sciences with extensive clinical training in patient care. Weill Cornell physicians and scientists are engaged in both basic and clinical research in the cutting-edge areas of genetics and gene therapy, neuroscience, structural biology, cancer, and cardiovascular medicine, among many other areas. In partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System, Weill Cornell now provides expanded opportunities for students to gain clinical experience in a variety of settings.

About the Medicsight Foundation

The Medicsight Foundation is dedicated to saving lives by assisting developments in early detection methods of the world's most common fatal diseases. Established in the United Kingdom in September 2003, the foundation strives to provide funds for pursuits in the field of medicine, specifically to help advance technology and improve software in the medical imaging field. The foundation's patron is HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO with Stephen A. Forsyth, Tim Paterson-Brown and Steven C. Rockefeller Jr. serving as Trustees.

About the American Legacy Foundation

The American Legacy Foundation is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use through grants, technical assistance and training, youth activism, strategic partnerships, counter-marketing and grass roots marketing campaigns, public relations, and outreach to populations disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco. The foundation's national programs include Circle of Friends™, Great Start, a Priority Populations Initiative, Streetheory, and truth®. The American Legacy Foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states and the tobacco industry.