Lung Cancer

Bold ideas

Tyler Shugg, PharmD, PhD, is conducting a pilot study with his mentor Dr. Jalal, to understand immune system changes in lung cancer patients as they receive immunotherapy. By collecting blood samples before and during immunotherapy cycles, Shugg is studying what happens to cytokines—the proteins that activate or suppress immune cells—as a patient receives treatment. This information could help predict response to immunotherapies.

Katy Ellis-Hilts, PhD, MPH, and Karen Hudmon, DrPH, received pilot funding from the cancer center to develop and assess implementing a brief Ask-Advise-Refer tobacco cessation interventions during pharmacist-administered vaccinations in community pharmacy settings. Pharmacists will be trained to connect patients with the Indiana Tobacco Quitline when they are administering vaccinations.

Pilot projects like these are funded by donors like you. These projects allow researchers to gather meaningful data to then apply for significant external funding.

Cancer center fellow Ali Ajrouch, MD, received a grant for IU School of Medicine graduates through the Primary Care Reaffirmation for Indiana Medical Education (PRIME) program. Working with Dr. Hanna, Ajrouch explored how breast cancer screenings could be an effective bridge to increasing lung cancer screenings.

Drs. Arjouch and Hanna found that women dying from lung cancer have been participating in breast cancer screening but not lung cancer screening. Their research showed that they could detect an additional 9.4% of lung cancer cases among women by combining breast and lung cancer screening appointments.

Working alongside Dr. Ajrouch on this project is Fatima Ghaddar, MD, MPH. Ghaddar is a post-doctoral researcher focused on thoracic oncology.

Generous contributions allow IU to attract the next generation of change-makers like Dr. Ajrouch and Dr. Ghaddar. They play a central role in a dozen non-therapeutic clinical trials, meaning the trials are focused on better understanding cancer and its impact on patients’ lives.

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For other ways to support lung cancer research, contact Amber Kleopfer Senseny at 317-278-4510 or


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