ARIAD Pharmaceuticals recently launched an awareness day for anaplastic lymphoma kinase positive (ALK+) metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the first time a day was specifically focused on the condition.
The inaugural ALD+ Day was Nov. 15 during Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and from now on, ALK+ Day will be held on the third Tuesday of each November.
The initiative also involved the creation of a website called Living with ALK to help patients and caregivers access resources and information about ALK+ NSCLC.
“This year we’re recognizing our 25 year anniversary as a company and we are extremely proud of our research efforts for rare cancers,” Timothy P. Clackson, PhD, ARIAD’s president of Research and Development and chief scientific officer, said in a press release.
He said the inaugural ALK+ Day, a “collaborative engagement with the lung cancer patient advocacy community,” aims to “place progress made in the ALK+ NSCLC space within the context of advances made in non-small cell lung cancer research.”
ALK was first identified as a chromosomal rearrangement in anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL). Now, research in genetics has suggested that chromosomal rearrangements in ALK could be key drivers in up to 8 percent of patients with NSCLC.
NSCLC is responsible for approximately 85 percent of the estimated 228,190 new lung cancer cases diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society, making it the most common type of lung cancer.
ARIAD also wants to support educational and informative projects like those created in collaboration with the Lung Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA), where people are encouraged to share “the little things” that lung cancer patients are thankful for with their community, using the social media hashtag #LittleThingsLCFA during Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November.
“We are excited to work with ARIAD on building awareness about ALK+ non-small cell lung cancer during Lung Cancer Awareness Month in order to highlight the progress and work still to be done in battling lung cancer,” said Kim Norris, president and co-founder of LCFA.
Norris said LCFA’s mission is “the dramatic improvement in survivorship of lung cancer patients through the funding of transformative science, with the ultimate goal of curing the disease.”