Lung Cancer Research Advocacy Driven by Heart

Lung Cancer Heroes®, CURE® Lung Cancer Heroes® 2021 Essay Book, Volume 2,

A woman writes about the unique lung cancer advocate who leads his endeavors with his heart for change.

Upal Basu Roy is currently the senior director of LUNGevity Research at the LUNGevity Foundation. He holds a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Arizona in Tucson and an M.P.H. in global health policy and management from New York University.

In his official capacity, he spearheads LUNGevity’s Translational Science Research Programs and its Patient-Focused Research Center. The research programs he develops and manages, such as Project Transform and Project PEER, focus on capturing the experience and perspective of patients with lung cancer in a way that will improve treatment and patient care for all lung cancer types. His LUNGevity work also includes overseeing its research awards program, participating in the Health Equity Council, guiding the scientific program of its International Lung Cancer Survivorship Conference, tracking developments in lung cancer care and translating new research into patient-friendly materials. He also provides patient perspective to government agencies, academia and industry, such as exploring ways to make clinical trials more accessible to a wider variety of patients.

In addition to an in-depth understanding of lung cancer science and research, Upal has a real heart for patients. He has generously given his personal as well as professional time to serve on an institutional review board, address disparities in cancer care, educate individual patients and help them navigate cancer drug access issues in other countries, and facilitate several patient-driven initiatives. For example, he helped create Project PRIORITY — a collaboration between LUNGevity Foundation and EGFR Resisters to capture the lived experience of patients who have EGFR-positive lung cancer — and analyzed data for presentations. Another example is helping the patient group ALK Positive develop their research grant awards process. Additionally, he served as a volunteer mentor for the new International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer’s Supportive Training for Advocates on Research and Science (STARS) program, which helps lung cancer advocates evolve into research advocates, and he developed a STARS training module for small cell lung cancer.

Most of Upal’s work happens behind the scenes and does not get the same visibility as aware- ness campaigns and policy advocacy. However, his work is essential for improving outcomes for all patients with lung cancer. He deserves the highest appreciation and recognition from the entire lung cancer community.

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