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Lung Precision Oncology Program (LPOP)

Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer among Veterans, and the second most common cancer in men and women. However, lung cancer screening and early detection can save lives. To better address care for Veterans, VA has established the Lung Precision Oncology Program (LPOP) to foster participation in lung cancer screening, genomic testing, and precision oncology trials. When Veterans participate in these trials, it allows us to tailor treatment to the needs of the individual. Please continue reading for more information about the program.

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The Lung Precision Oncology Program (LPOP) has the stated mission of improving care for all of our nation's Veterans who have been diagnosed with lung cancer. This new program is a component of the VHA’s Precision Oncology Initiative, which aims to continue to create a system of excellence in oncology care within the VHA.

In developing this nation-wide LPOP program, the VA has selected locations across the country to serve as central Hub sites, which work together with local VA facilities on screening, genetic testing, and participation in clinical trials. The VA LPOP ensures that Veterans have access to cutting-edge cancer care no matter where they live.

Be Proactive With Your Lung Health

There are many reasons to be screened for lung cancer and speaking with your health care provider can help you make that decision. Early detection -- especially if you're at a higher risk for the disease -- is a major component of a better outcome.

While learning about a lung cancer diagnosis can be difficult, there is always a reason for hope. New findings regarding diagnosing and treatment options for cancer are being discovered every day. If you suspect that you are at risk for developing lung cancer, speak to your primary care provider to get screened. A low dose CT scan takes a few minutes. Below are the current guidelines for screening, and they may apply to you:

  • Between the ages of 50 - 80
  • Are currently a smoker, or have quit within the last 15 years
  • Have smoked a total of 20 pack-years

If these factors apply to you, you might qualify for a low-dose CT scan to screen for lung cancer. You can also access early detection screening by joining one of our clinical trials (information can be found toward the bottom of this page), which help us develop and implement various methods to identify lung cancer early. Talk to your primary care provider today! You can also learn more about the program by using the contact information below.

Deborah Toth MSN, RN
LPOP Lung Cancer Screening Program Coordinator
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
Deborah.Toth@va.gov
727-967-9099 

Teri Buess BSN, RN
LPOP Lung Cancer Screening Program Coordinator
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
Teri.Buess@va.gov
239-315-5288

Get Involved in Clinical Research

LPOP and the Bay Pines VA are committed to providing Veterans access to clinical trials which can include prevention, diagnosis and even treatment. The Bay Pines VA LPOP site is active in several cutting-edge clinical trials aimed at detecting, treating, and even preventing lung cancer in Veterans. If you would like more information or learn more about participating in one of our many trials, click the 'plus' sign below and talk to one of our coordinators to learn more about opportunities which may be available to you. 

Our focus is to provide targeted cancer care for Veterans while facilitating access to investigational therapies through clinical trials.

Clinical Trial Title: NIGHTINGALE (VERACYTE)
CliNIcal Utility of ManaGement of Patients witH CT and LDCT Identified Pulmonary Nodules UsinG the Percepta NasAL Swab ClassifiEr – with Familiarization

Clinical Trial Overview: As part of the study, one nasal brushing specimen will be collected. Your physician may use the test result as an aid in managing your lung nodule. The information obtained may also aid future patients by helping improve the assessment of lung nodules and treatment plans.

Contact Information: Mariah Alexis MS, Study Coordinator
Mariah.Alexis@va.gov or 727-398-6661, ext. 10152

Background Information: The main goal of this research study is to evaluate the usefulness of the Percepta Nasal Swab in determining the risk of lung cancer when a new lung nodule is detected by imaging as part of lung cancer screening or incidentally during a medical work up. The local Principal Investigator (PI) for this clinical trial is Stephen Clum, MD, PhD.


Clinical Trial Title: KRYSTAL-7 (MIRATI)
A Phase 2 Trial of Adagrasib Monotherapy and in Combination with Pembrolizumab and a Phase 3 Trial of Adagrasib in Combination with Pembrolizumab versus Pembrolizumab plus Chemotherapy in Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer with KRAS G12C Mutation

Clinical Trial Overview: This study will evaluate how effective these medications are in shrinking or slowing down the growth of lung cancer tumors. It allows participants to play a more proactive role in their own health by receiving a new treatment for an ongoing disease or condition. Participants may also play an important part in bringing much-needed drugs to market, benefiting thousands of patients who also have the disease or condition. 

Contact Information: Kameron Wheelock, BS, Study Coordinator
Kameron.Wheelock@va.gov or 7272-398-6661, ext. 17842

Background Information: Phase 2: This study will assess the efficacy and safety of Adagrasib monotherapy and, in combination with Pembrolizumab, as a first-line treatment in patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer with a KRAS G12C mutation. Phase 3: This phase will compare the efficacy of Adagrasib administered in combination with pembrolizumab versus pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy in patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer with a KRAS G12C mutation. The local Principal Investigator (PI) for this clinical trial is Ryan Burri, MD.

Clinical Trial Number: NCT04613596


Clinical Trial Title: PACIFIC-4 (ASTRA ZENECA)
A Phase III, Randomized, Placebo-controlled, Double-blind, Multi-center, International Study of Durvalumab with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) for the Treatment of Patients with unresected Stage I/II, lymph-node negative Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

Clinical Trial Overview: You are invited to take part in this research study if you have been diagnosed with the type of lung cancer, Stage I/II Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) that is not operable as determined by your doctor, or the cancer is operable, but you have chosen to undergo stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) instead of surgery. The study involves a screening period, treatment period, and a follow-up period. Information from this research study may help Stage I/II NSCLC patients in the future.

Contact Information: Kameron Wheelock, BS, Study Coordinator
Kameron.Wheelock@va.gov or 727-398-6661, ext. 17842

Background Information: The main goal of this research study is to find more effective treatment for Stage I/II NSCLC treated with SBRT. This is a study assessing the efficacy and safety of durvalumab versus placebo with standard of care Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) in patients with unresected clinical Stage I/II lymph node-negative (T1 to T3N0M0) Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. The local Principal Investigator (PI) for this clinical trial is Ryan Burri, MD.

Clinical Trial Number: NCT03833154


Clinical Trial Title: VA VALOR (VA-CSP)
Veterans Affairs Lung Cancer Surgery Or Stereotactic Radiotherapy Trial

Clinical Trial Overview: The VA is doing everything it can to improve the manner in which we treat lung cancer, and improve patient outcomes for patients who have stage one lung cancer. Veterans diagnosed with stage I non-small cell lung cancer who are healthy enough to have surgery, agree to be randomized to either surgery (standard of care treatment) or an alternative non-surgical treatment - Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SBRT). 

The data you provide will help understand the effectiveness and outcomes of the treatments. The knowledge gained from this study will be used in the future by doctors to guide Stage I lung cancer treatment for Veterans and other patients. 

Contact Information: Marlene Kern, DNP, RN, Study Coordinator
Marlene.Kern@va.gov or 727-398-6661, ext. 13917

Background Information: SBRT uses very precisely targeted radiation to destroy the cancer in the lung. However, there has not been a study comparing SBRT and Surgery in patients who are physically fit and suitable for both treatments. Therefore, this study is being done to compare Surgery and SBRT directly. There is evidence that some patients feel better supported during research studies, and some report better outcomes. The local PIs for this clinical trial are Ryan Burri, MD, and Edward Hong, MD.

Clinical Trial Number: NCT02984761


Enrollment is anticipated to begin in October 2023. Please check back for updates.

Clinical Trial Title: REFLECTION (GRAIL)
Real World Evidence for Learnings in Early Cancer Detection, a Clinical Practice Learning Program for Galleri

Clinical Trial Overview: The Galleri® test works by looking for specific signals that might come from your genes. It is a blood test that uses 10 milliliters of blood, collected in two five milliliter tubes. Participating in this study may help evaluate your risk for developing cancer in the future. It may also help those who will receive oncology care in the future. 

Contact Information: Ronald Eland BS, Study Coordinator
Ronald.Eland@va.gov or 727-398-6661, ext. 10791

Background Information: The main goal of this research study is to evaluate the performance of Galleri® in participants who have been prescribed the test as part of their routine medical care. Additionally, this study will assess participants’ and providers’ experiences and understanding of the test, and how it is being used in clinical settings. The local PI for this clinical trial is Stephen Clum, MD, PhD.

Clinical Trial Number: NCT05205967

Goals of the Program

The Bay Pines VA is proud to be part of VHA’s nation-wide Precision Oncology Initiative, aiming to continue to create a system of excellence in oncology care. Through timely lung cancer screening programs, smoking cessation education, and cutting-edge clinical trials, we are happy to say that we're closer to that goal than ever. LPOP has assembled experts in pulmonology, oncology, thoracic surgery, radiation oncology, radiology, pathology and translational sciences to ensure that we can make a difference in the battle against lung cancer.

While great progress has been made, Veterans need more and better options. Precision oncology means matching the right treatment to the right patient using a molecular understanding of their cancer. At the VA, we take it a step further and provide the tools, resources, and systems of excellence across the United States that foster personalized care for Veterans, and here at VISN 8 we are proud to serve as an established lung cancer site for LPOP.

The program goals include:

  • Increasing screening to detect lung cancer sooner in Veterans at risk
  • Offering genetic testing for Veterans with lung cancer
  • Providing Veterans with lung cancer access to unique, new treatment options and precision oncology trials
  • Integrating new knowledge into lung cancer care