Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and worldwide. In 2012, it is estimated that in the U.S., 226,160 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and that 160,340 people will die of the disease, an annual mortality exceeding that of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer combined. Despite decades of research, overall 5-year survival has remained at a poor 15-17%. Because lung cancer develops deep within the chest cavity and typically causes no symptoms until the disease is advanced and incurable, early detection is critical. Investigators in the Kim Lab are deeply committed to reversing the inexorable course of lung cancer through bold investigation and innovative science using the latest next-generation sequencing technology.
Il-Jin Kim, Ph.D., Director of Applied Genomics in the UCSF Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, has extensive experience in early detection, having led an effort to screen 1,000 patients in 400 families for major inherited conditions in the Korean Hereditary Tumor Registry. Molecular diagnostic screening is the future of early detection. The same molecular biomarkers also have in assessing prognosis and predicting response to treatement. Current genetic assays are technically complex, expensive, and slow making them impractical for routine screening. The Kim Lab is developing rapid, high-throughput, high-quality and cost-effective diagnostic assays for lung cancer to meet this unmet medical need.