“Science is fascinating. It always surprises me to see how beautifully everything has been built. It is both gratifying and humbling to approach it and try to understand how it works. Like a Mozart symphony, the beauty is in the music. But until you see how each instrument works, you cannot begin to truly appreciate the beauty.” – Pierre Massion
Dr. Pierre Massion, chair of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board, is a world-renowned and highly-published expert in the early detection of lung cancer. Because there currently is no wide-spread, cost-effective diagnostic for lung cancer, he has spent years immersed in the details of lung cancer in order to devise a method of finding early stage lung cancer before it becomes fatal.
Dr. Massion is best known for his work on proteomic biomarkers of lung cancer, where he analyzes the body’s proteins to determine if there are deviations which could indicate the beginnings of disease. If lung cancer is found its earliest phases, it can be highly treatable. Therefore determining if a patient has lung cancer before they have symptoms is an essential part of improving survivorship of this disease. “I see people who are exposed to risk factors for lung cancer,” he explains, “and we are trying to see if they have it or not.”
Dr. Massion knows well the importance of a thorough understanding of the challenges in the field of lung cancer. Though his grandfather died of metastatic lung cancer when he was just a boy, Dr. Massion’s dedication to understanding the early development of lung cancer only emerged as he saw the focus on molecular therapeutics and prevention. “I thought it was a missed opportunity,” he explains, “We should be able to screen people who are at high risk and then intervene and prevent this disease from happening.”
People who have been exposed to lung cancer risk factors, such as engine exhaust and cigarette smoke, don’t have many advocates in the system, notes Dr. Massion. “With LUNGevity’s expanding grassroots reach, we are bringing the nation’s attention to the need for more lung cancer research. I am honored to serve as the Chairman of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board. Carefully vetting and identifying research that is most likely to save lives is an important task that we all take seriously. After all, wise investments in research today will save lives tomorrow.”