Low to be honored by American Lung Association for cancer-fighting invention

Philip Low (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The American Lung Association in Indiana will honor Purdue University researcher Philip Low on April 13 at its annual gala in Indianapolis for his invention of CYTALUX, which helps in the fight against lung cancer.

Low, Purdue’s Presidential Scholar for Drug Discovery and the Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the College of Science, developed CYTALUX, an FDA-approved fluorescent marker that illuminates lung cancer cells during surgery. This allows surgeons to quickly distinguish malignant cells from healthy cells and confirm that all malignant cells have been removed. Total removal is key to preserving the lives of lung cancer patients.

A member of the Purdue Institute for Cancer Research and the founder and chief science officer for On Target Laboratories, Low is being recognized with the association’s Legacy Award, which is given to individuals or organizations whose accomplishments have contributed to ending lung cancer.

The foundational intellectual property for CYTALUX was licensed to On Target Laboratories by the Purdue Innovates Office of Technology Commercialization. With over 700 patents and patents pending, Low has founded seven companies to commercialize his discoveries.

“Dr. Low has helped redefine what health technology can do not only in Indiana, but across the nation,” said Tanya Husain, executive director of the Indiana Lung Association. “He has pushed the limits of medicine to develop CYTALUX. This new targeted treatment is giving countless lung disease patients new hope, and we are proud to honor Dr. Low with this year’s Legacy Award.”

Lung cancer is the second-most diagnosed cancer in the world and accounts for more than one-fifth of all cancer deaths in the U.S. every year. Prognosis is typically bleak. Only 28% have a chance of living five years after being diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer.

The importance of removing all the malignant tissue, the difficulty in distinguishing cancerous tissue from healthy tissue and the widespread nature of this type of lung cancer make Low’s invention of CYTALUX a breakthrough development for lung cancer patients.

“I am very grateful to the Lung Association for this recognition,” Low said. “I share this award with my research team here at Purdue. We are all passionate about our research into finding life-preserving remedies for lung cancer and all other cancers, as well as many other diseases that threaten lives around the world.”

The Indiana Lung Association’s “Evening of Promise Gala: Celebrating Imagination and Innovation,” begins at 6 p.m. April 13 at Newfield’s LUME in Indianapolis. The event, presented by CVS Health, is intended to raise funds and awareness for and about lung cancer. Tickets can be purchased on the Lung Association’s website at EveningofPromise.org.

About the American Lung Association

Founded 120 years ago, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through research, education and advocacy. It is focused on defeating lung cancer, creating a tobacco-free future, championing clean air for all and improving the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families.

About the Purdue Institute for Cancer Research

Built to power basic discovery, the Purdue Institute for Cancer Research (PICR) was established in 1976 and is recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for its scientific leadership. It holds the distinction of being one of only seven NCI-designated Basic Laboratory Cancer Centers in the nation. Committed to improving all lives affected by cancer, PICR brings together some of the best investigative minds in the world, persistently engaging in cutting-edge transdisciplinary research that advances the world’s understanding of cancer, fuels the development of novel solutions and educates and empowers the diverse health workforce of tomorrow.

About Purdue Innovates

Purdue Innovates is a unified network at Purdue Research Foundation to assist Purdue faculty, staff, students and alumni in either IP commercialization or startup creation. As a conduit to technology commercialization, intellectual property protection and licensing, startup creation and venture capital, Purdue Innovates serves as the front door to translate new ideas into world-changing impact.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution demonstrating excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top four in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, including nearly 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 13 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap — including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes — at https://www.purdue.edu/president/strategic-initiatives.

Writer/Media contact: Amy Raley, araley@purdue.edu

Source: Ashley Udell, aaudell@purdue.edu