Skip to content

    Recently Viewed


      Doctors looking at a lung scan on a tablet

      New study shows researchers may be one step closer to intercepting lung cancer earlier

      A team of scientists, including those from Janssen and the Lung Cancer Initiative at Johnson & Johnson, found that biomarkers related to the immune system may be able to aid doctors in identifying high-risk lung cancer patients—and treating them—at the earliest stage of the disease.

      Share Article
      share to

      Each year, more people in the U.S. die from lung cancer than from breast, colon and prostate cancer combined.

      What’s more, the five-year survival rate for patients who have lung cancer is just 18%—a statistic that has only marginally increased over the past four decades. That’s due, in large part, to the fact that the disease is usually detected and treated too late: Roughly 70% of patients are diagnosed when they already have stage 3 or 4 lung cancer.

      It’s why researchers are eager to develop new tools that might be able to help diagnose and treat the disease much earlier than is currently possible. And a new study just released in the journal Nature Communications suggests they might be one step closer to that goal.

      In the study, current and former smokers with precancerous lesions in their airways and lungs were followed for several years, during which time some patients progressed toward invasive lung cancer, while others did not.

      The study’s authors—from the Lung Cancer Initiative at Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Research & Development, LLC, part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson; Boston University School of Medicine; University of California, Los Angeles; and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center—found that the precancerous lesions that became invasive were lacking certain immune cells in their microenvironment.

      Researchers like those on Spira’s team hope to someday develop a treatment that has the ability to alter the immune system in order to delay—and perhaps even reverse—lung cancer growth.

      “We know the immune system plays a pivotal role in the body’s ability to identify and destroy some cancers,” explains Avrum Spira, M.D., Global Head of the Lung Cancer Initiative at Johnson & Johnson. “However, what’s most exciting about this study is it shows that the presence or absence of immune cells in precancerous lesions in the lungs may provide critical information as to whether that lesion will progress toward invasive lung cancer. This information could one day underpin strategies to identify individuals who are incubating lung cancer and intercept the development of invasive disease—potentially allowing physicians to spot and treat the precancerous lesions in the lungs at a very early stage.”

      Ultimately, researchers like those on Spira’s team hope to someday develop a treatment that has the ability to alter the immune system in order to delay—and perhaps even reverse—lung cancer growth.

      An Innovative New Way to Catch Cancer

      By intercepting the disease at its earliest stages, Johnson & Johnson believes it can someday help diagnose patients faster—and potentially treat them more effectively.

      More from Johnson & Johnson

      Blue latex-gloved hands holding a beaker filled with yellow liquid

      IBD rates are rising in communities of color. Can these innovators help?

      Scientists aren’t sure what’s behind the upward trend. That’s why Johnson & Johnson Innovation put out the call to address this troubling health disparity.
      DNA illustration genetic material

      Harnessing the human genome is the future of healthcare—and Johnson & Johnson is helping lead the way

      The company’s partnership with the largest human genome sequencing project in the world will increase scientists’ understanding of genetic diseases and help create new interventions. Here, a look at the breakthroughs that have guided the understanding of the power of DNA.
      Health & wellness
      1123 BTN-Lung Cancer-Iede2.jpg
      Health & wellness

      By the numbers: Who gets lung cancer?

      Each year, more people die of lung cancer than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Learn how Johnson & Johnson is dedicated to improving outcomes by integrating the company’s MedTech and Innovative Medicine expertise.
      You are now leaving and going to a site with a different privacy policy. Please click below to continue to that site.