Groundbreaking Lung Cancer Trial Launched

Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center Participates in National Effort to Develop Potential New Treatment for Lung Cancer


(Baton Rouge, La.) Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center is now offering patients the opportunity to be part of an unprecedented clinical trial designed to help develop new treatments for an advanced form of lung cancer, the leading cancer killer of both men and women. This is possible because the Cancer Center, LSU HSC-New Orleans and LSU HSC-Shreveport are part of a new effort called the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) to bring advanced cancer treatments to Louisiana.
One of the first NCORP trials, known as Lung-MAP (Lung Cancer Master Protocol), is a multi-drug, multi-arm, biomarker-driven clinical trial for patients with advanced squamous cell lung cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma represents about a quarter of all lung cancer diagnoses, but there are currently few treatment options beyond surgery for the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, about 25 to 30 percent of all lung cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. These cancers start in early versions of squamous cells, which are flat cells that line the inside of the airways in the lungs. They are often linked to a history of smoking and tend to be found in the middle of the lungs, near a bronchus.
“This trial is an opportunity for patients to participate in studies we believe could be key in treating advanced squamous cell lung cancer,” said Dr. Kellie Schmeeckle, a medical oncologist and hematologist at the Cancer Center. “This could truly present a new paradigm in lung cancer treatment, and for the design of clinical trials in the future.”


Lung-MAP is a public–private collaboration and includes the National Cancer Institute part of the National Institutes of Health, five pharmaceutical companies (Amgen, Genentech, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, and Astra Zeneca’s global biologics R&D arm, MedImmune), and Foundation Medicine. This innovative approach to clinical testing should both improve access to promising drugs for patients and ease the significant recruitment and infrastructure burdens on researchers involved in traditional clinical trials.


“A greater number of patients will have access to more experimental treatment options through this collaborative effort,” said Dr. Schmeeckle, who is also with Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group. “Plus, the process will be very streamlined and we’ll be able to get patients on Lung-MAP quickly, which is imperative with such an aggressive disease.”


This diverse, collaborative approach, with support from leading lung cancer advocacy organizations, helps to ensure that the needs of patients, clinicians, developers, and regulators are all considered in the design and operation of the trial. The trial will initially test five experimental drugs. It is anticipated that between 500 and 1000 patients will be screened per year for over 200 cancer-related genes for genomic alterations. The results of this test will be used to assign each patient to the trial arm that is best matched to their tumor’s genomic profile.


For more information on Lung-MAP, please call the Cancer Center Clinical Research Department at (225) 215-1353 or email at


Mary Bird Perkins—Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center is the most comprehensive cancer center in Louisiana offering patients the convenience of receiving high-quality, advanced care close to home.