BEVERLY – November 16, 2020 – The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) and its philanthropic arm, the AATS Foundation, have established a strategic collaboration with AstraZeneca to create the AATS Leading the Way in Lung Cancer Care Initiative. AATS has been the preeminent leader in the field of cardiothoracic surgery following its establishment by thoracic surgeons more than a century ago. AstraZeneca is a leader in the evolving landscape of early-stage lung cancer, and has committed $1M in funding for this important initiative in 2020-2021, ultimately launching a novel collaboration in the cardiothoracic surgery specialty.
AstraZeneca’s strategy in lung cancer is focused on early detection and treatment, enhancing innovation and delivering life-changing medicines that help patients live better, longer lives. This is fully aligned with the mission of the AATS to “Promote Scholarship, Innovation, and Leadership for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.”
This collaboration has two strategic focus areas. The first is in fostering new knowledge and innovative ideas to improve lung cancer treatment through research and the education of the next generation of thoracic surgeons. The strength of AATS’ commitment to the future of the specialty and patient care is embodied in more than 25 research and educational programs administered for cardiothoracic surgeons through the AATS Foundation.
Central to this new AATS- AstraZeneca collaboration is the support for Surgical Investigators Awards focused on lung cancer research, as well as support for emerging thoracic surgical oncologists, and women and underrepresented minorities early in their thoracic surgical careers in order to better address the communities served. These programs fund the research and outreach of young thoracic surgeons that will ultimately lead the future in thoracic surgery, improving outcomes and changing treatment paradigms for thoracic surgical patients throughout all communities. Improving the care of thoracic surgical patients, inclusive of different genders, ethnic and racial compositions, in both academic and community practices, is of great importance to this initiative.
The second focus of this strategic collaboration is centered around collaborative leadership for a new paradigm for thoracic surgical oncology, particularly for early-stage thoracic cancers. The opportunity to educate surgeons about systemic therapies and learn from key opinion leaders in a collaborative way will introduce new ideas and can serve to shift the surgeons view of the treatment paradigm from “either-or” to a “synergistic” approach to patient care. This will lead to improved trial design and enrollment, and the creation of a life-long partnership in an ever changing world.
Dr. Yolonda L. Colson, Chief for the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and Vice President of the AATS, summarized the importance of this initiative. “Given our similar goals and missions to innovate for lung cancer patients, this collaboration with AstraZeneca is a natural and mutually beneficial endeavor. Our initial efforts will focus on research, innovation, and collaborative leadership to foster education and the sharing of ideas between AATS, AATS Foundation, and AstraZeneca – all for the benefit of our patients.”
ABOUT THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THORACIC SURGERY (AATS)
The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) is an international organization that encourages, promotes, and stimulates the scientific investigation of cardiothoracic surgery. Founded in 1917 by a respected group of the earliest pioneers in the field, its original mission was to “foster the evolution of an interest in surgery of the Thorax.” Today, the AATS is the premiere association for cardiothoracic surgeons in the world and works to continually enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality of patient care. Its more than 1,500 members have a proven record of distinction within the specialty and have made significant contributions to the care and treatment of cardiothoracic disease. Visit www.aats.org to learn more.
ABOUT THE AATS FOUNDATION
The AATS Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the AATS, dedicated to supporting cardiothoracic surgeons in research and education. The Foundation was established in 1973 as past leaders of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery realized the need to actively support and guide both research and education in the field. From the introduction of its first fellowship to the present day, the AATS Foundation has been a major force in the specialty, funding enhanced educational opportunities for the next generation of cardiothoracic surgeons worldwide. Visit www.aatsfoundation.org to learn more.