Artificial intelligence-enabled mobile screening units. Nasal swab genomic tests. Diagnostics that pair the right treatment with the right patient. For Healthy Lung Month, Johnson & Johnson researchers share the progress that's being made to thwart the #1 cancer killer.
Early screening is an important way to help diagnose—and boost your odds of beating—many diseases. But when it comes to certain diseases, like lung cancer, it can be especially crucial.
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the world, in part because it’s usually diagnosed at a late stage. Almost 60% of patients diagnosed with lung cancer today have metastatic disease, which means the cancer has already spread from where it started.
But while many companies working in lung cancer research today are focused only on treating late-stage disease, Johnson & Johnson is focused holistically on prevention, interception and treatment.
“Our goal is to prevent lung cancer from happening in the first place, and if we can’t do that, to intercept the disease in its early stages to slow down or prevent further development,” explains Zach Boyd, Head of Oncology Diagnostics at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.
To accelerate work toward these goals, in 2018 Johnson & Johnson launched the Lung Cancer Initiative (LCI), a cross-sector R&D organization that takes a multidisciplinary approach to maximize the full power of the company’s pharmaceutical, medical devices and consumer health groups, along with the expertise of outside collaborators and leading lung cancer experts in academia to develop innovations with the aim to prevent, intercept and treat.
For Healthy Lung Month, we are taking a look at some of the groundbreaking strides the company is making to help advance early detection and screening efforts as part of its overall strategy toward the ultimate goal of a world without lung cancer.
Bringing Screening to Where the Patients Are
Regular lung cancer screening, which involves a low-dose CT scan, is the most important step at-risk people can take toward detecting the disease early, when it is easier to treat and potentially cure. But for people to get help, they need to actually get access to screening.
And that's a real challenge for many.
This past September, Johnson & Johnson collaborated with LUNGevity, a non-profit organization with a focus on lung cancer, and brought together industry colleagues to discuss the current state of access to lung cancer screening in the U.S. The consensus? More work needs to be done, as only 5% of patients eligible for lung cancer screening (which is covered by most insurers) under current United States Preventive Services Task Force guidelines actually get screened.
More information here.