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Lung Cancer Research Foundation, MET Crusaders to Fund MET-Driven Cancer Research Projects

NEW YORK – The Lung Cancer Research Foundation and the patient advocacy group MET Crusaders said on Monday that they have inked a partnership to fund MET-driven cancer research.

Through the partnership, LCRF and MET Crusaders will fund two research projects during 2022, though they have not yet selected which ones. According to a spokesperson for LCRF, there are four areas of interest that the partners will prioritize as they select these projects: mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies; novel treatment approaches, combinations, and new therapies; next-generation drugs or agents with novel mechanisms of action; and agents that improve the safety profile of existing therapies.

As of now, there are two US Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs on the market for non-small cell lung cancer patients with mutations leading to MET exon 14 skipping. Novartis' Tabrecta (capmatinib) was approved in May 2020, and Merck KGaA's Tepmetko (tepotinib) garnered accelerated approval from the agency in February 2021.

According to John Hallick, president of the MET Crusaders, these two approved therapies are essentially interchangeable. "If one stops working, the other is not likely to work," Hallick said in an email, adding that he was disappointed in the dearth of research presented on MET-driven cancers during the recent International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Targeted Therapies of Lung Cancer conference.

"It seems MET-driven cancer has fallen off everyone's radar screen," he added. MET-driven NSCLC is a "rare cancer and our numbers are small. … We need more research for MET, [and] this partnership is designed to fuel awareness and research. It is a step in the right direction."