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Avera Leads International Lung Cancer Treatment Trial

Avera Health

The Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls is partnering with an international research organization for a ground-breaking study of lung cancer treatment. Members of the team believe this study could help eradicate metastatic cancer by 2025.

Dr. Vladimir Lazar is the founder of the World Innovative Networking Consortium (WIN). According to Dr. Lazar, 60% of lung cancer patients are first diagnosed after the cancer has metastasized. Less than 3% of those patients survive longer than five years after their diagnosis. 

But thanks to an upcoming research trial and partnership with Avera, Dr. Lazar also said those numbers can change.

"Our ambition is, in five years from now, more than 80% of those patients will stay alive in good quality of life," he said.

The trial, announced on January 19 in Sioux Falls, is called Survival Prolongation by Rationale Innovative Genomics (SPRING). Dr. Benjamin Solomon is the lead investigator for the trial at Avera. He said over the last few years, Avera's team examined cancer patients' genomes in order to match individuals with the best personalized treatment. SPRING is the first trial in the world to test the effectiveness of this method.

"As we analyze the results of SPRING and other trials to follow," he said, "We expect to improve our process for treatment selection in what is currently the most common cause of cancer related death world-wide."

Dr. Brian Leyland-Jones is an oncologist with Avera, and was the one to invite Dr. Lazar to Sioux Falls for the first time a few years ago. He opened Friday's announcement with his own set of numbers.

"I tell all my patients that life is complex," he began. "We've had life on this planet for 4 billion years. We each have 37 trillion cells in our body, and 3 meters of DNA in every cell. And I truly believe that by 2025, this entire conundrum is going to be solved."

Avera is the first of eight sites worldwide to start enrolling patients for the SPRING trial.