Erin Schenk, MD, PHD

Thoracic Oncology Research Initiative (TORI)

The Thoracic Oncology Research Initiative (TORI) was initiated in 2015 through a generous gift from the Dudley Family. The goal of this initiative was to advance lung cancer research at the University of Colorado, building on a long history of collaborations spanning basic, translational and clinical research. The Lung Cancer Program has been a flagship at the University of Colorado, as evidenced by having been funded as a Special Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) for over 25 years.

The program brings together investigators from multiple departments and centers across the campus, including Medicine, Pharmacology, Immunology, Pathology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, the School of Dental Medicine and the School of Public Health. Major areas of strength in lung cancer research include characterization and treatment of preneoplastic lesions, targeted therapies against oncogenic tyrosine kinase drivers, and determinants of response to immunotherapy.

Investigators are currently supported by major grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Defense (DOD), LUNGevity Foundation, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Lung Association (ALA). In addition, University of Colorado has become a national and international clinical center for chemopreventive and immunopreventive clinical trials, as well as treatment of lung cancers with identified oncogenic drivers. Interactions between clinicians and basic/translational scientists have led to studies correlating findings in preclinical models with analysis of tissues from lung cancer patients.

TORI is committed to promoting these interactions and fostering new collaborations, with a goal of acquiring funding through multi-investigator mechanisms, as well as initiating new clinical trials. The Initiative works with other programs and initiatives within the Cancer Center and across the institution. 

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Latest News from TORI

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