The Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI, voiced as “Alchemy”) today announced the enrollment of the initial subjects into its inaugural clinical trial known as CASTLE, targeting 250 subjects over two years among academic and community medical centers in the United States. CASTLE stands for Collaborative Advanced Stage Tissue Lung Cancer study.
ALCMI is an innovative, patient-founded non-profit research consortium that facilitates and drives comprehensively contracted collaborations among researchers in academic and community medical centers with the mission of significantly increasing the currently poor survival rates of patients diagnosed with lung cancer.
Approximately 1.5 million people will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011, and 1.3 million will die from it, worldwide. In clear contrast to other cancers, the 5-year survival rate of lung cancer (15.5%) has not improved over the past 40 years. More people die from lung cancer than six other top cancers combined—specifically breast, colon, prostate, kidney, liver and melanoma. Among the key contributors to this lack of progress have been the disproportionally low federal investment in research and a lack of meaningful coordination of efforts against lung cancer, resulting in late diagnoses, few and only temporarily effective therapies, and broadly inconsistent standards of care.
Recognizing the imperative for a paradigm shift in the battle against lung cancer, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (BJALCF) and leading lung cancer scientists in the U.S. and Europe co-founded ALCMI in 2008 as a standalone, results-focused research consortium. ALCMI pools knowledge, biospecimens and data so as to facilitate and accelerate the development and delivery of much more effective diagnostics and treatments tailored to the individual patient, leading as soon as possible to personalized therapies and vastly improved patient survival rates.
ALCMI has established shared infrastructures including centralized data systems and biorepositories, and has also focused efforts to include community-based physicians and hospitals. The importance is that it brings research to where the patients are most commonly treated. “Tissues from cancer surgeries are usually discarded in community hospitals once a diagnosis is made, quite literally throwing away the ability to go back to retest these tissues as new technologies and treatments emerge,” explained Steven Young, President & COO of ALCMI. “CASTLE directs the collection and analysis of tissue and blood that are essential to research and the development of individually tailored therapies.”
Although research studies have demonstrated that the genetic (molecular) testing of tumors can help benefit patient outcomes, only a minority of physicians routinely order these tests. “CASTLE is collecting tissue and blood samples from advanced-stage cancer patients to perform molecular tests so clinicians can make informed decisions on best available treatments, such as more effective, targeted drugs rather than nonspecific, too often ineffective and toxic chemotherapy,” said David Carbone, MD, PhD, chair of ALCMI’s Scientific Leadership Board. “By studying blood and tumor tissue, we can identify and test new genetic markers and detect lung cancer at a much earlier stage, with the goal of developing simple blood tests enabling interventions while the cancer cells are most vulnerable.”
Bonnie Addario, advanced stage lung cancer survivor and founder of BJALCF and ALCMI, declared at the launch of CASTLE that “Empowered patients live longer. Our message is simple—we want to live!”
Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute