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Participants represent prominent experts from a range of RCC-related (and unrelated) disciplines including clinical, computational sciences, patient advocacy, pharmaceutical research and development, cancer research, and genetics. They will share their knowledge, ideas, and vision about the realities and possibilities of the next big breakthroughs in kidney cancer care and research.

The KCA has consistently brought important stakeholders together to share information about kidney cancer, define goals, and set the research agenda for the field through collaborative discussions like the IKCS as well as the 2011 Kidney Cancer Research Summit: a Symposium for Young Investigators. Think Tank participants were notified several months in advance of the meeting and provided with questions to create a framework for guiding the conversation and initiating momentum for the exercise.

“At the conclusion of the session, we envision being able to formulate key takeaways to be shared with the entire renal cancer community,” said Dr  Rini. “This inaugural Think Tank is poised to be just the first highlight of another successful and purposeful IKCS experience.”


Kidney Cancer Advocacy Days
in Washington DC

The Kidney Cancer Association (KCA) will partner with KidneyCAN and other kidney cancer advocacy groups for Kidney Cancer Community Advocacy Days in Washington DC on October 21-22, 2019.

Uniting under the theme “One Voice, One Message for One Disease,” advocates representing the KCA will attend training sessions, Advocacy Days events, and discuss what is needed for advancements in diagnostic capabilities, prevention efforts, treatments, patient care and, ultimately, a cure. The KCA invites interested individuals to join the event.  Please contact Debra Beyhan at abeyhan@comcast.net or 440-663-4456 for schedule details and information on how to register. Participants who register through the KCA will receive up to $500 reimbursement for travel expenses.


Kidney Cancer Association Announces Recipients of $1.3 Million in Research Grants

Earlier this year, the Kidney Cancer Association (KCA) announced a meaningful increase in funding of their Young Investigator Award, alongside the news of a new grant opportunity, the Advanced Discovery Award (ADA).  Following an in-depth application and review process, the KCA is pleased to reveal the recipients of these grants.

“The KCA was delighted by the high caliber of proposals received for both awards and are hopeful that this research will advance the medical community’s understanding of kidney cancer,” said Christopher Wood, MD, Chair of the KCA’s Board of Directors. “We are committed to making a substantive impact in the lives of patients with kidney cancer and look forward to seeing the groundbreaking proposals for the YIA and ADA each year.”

The YIA seeks to encourage promising researchers in urology and clinical oncology who are planning to pursue an investigative career in kidney cancer.  The ADA is structured to promote collaboration between a clinician including a urologic oncologist, medical oncologist or radiation oncologist and a Ph.D. to propose new research that will make an immediate impact in the field of kidney cancer. This year, two $500,000 ADA grants were awarded in the ADAs, while YIA funding increased from two grants worth $50,000 to four grants worth $75,000.

“It is exciting that we are simultaneously announcing our YIA recipients, a program which has long been a part of the KCA’s efforts, while at the same time introducing our inaugural class of ADA recipients,” said Gretchen Vaughan, CEO of the KCA. “We are proud of all our recipients and eager to see where their research may lead in our mission to conquer kidney cancer.”


Advanced Discovery Award (ADA) Recipients:

Research Team:

Kathleen M. Mahoney, MD, PhD - Dana-Farber Cancer Institute,
Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center

Gordon J. Freeman, PhD - Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Rupal S. Bhatt, MD, PhD - Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center


HHLA2/KIR3DL3 as a novel therapeutic immune checkpoint pathway in renal cancer

This research team will explore a novel immune checkpoint pathway that is similar to, but non-overlapping with, the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, which has been the key driver of advances in immunotherapy that led to much improved outcomes for many patients with cancer. A better understanding of how this HHLA2/KIR3DL3 pathway works and determining if disrupting it allows immune cells to target and destroy cancer cells could be particularly important for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) who might not benefit from existing



• • •


Research Team:

Eric Jonasch, MD - The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Guang Peng, PhD - The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


S-phase DNA damage response links genomic instability mechanisms
to anti-tumor immunity in renal cell carcinoma

This research team will investigate how the novel tumor suppressor gene NPRL2 functions. The team will study how NPRL2 triggers innate immune response in RCC through impairing S-phase DNA damage response (S-DDR). NPRL2 is frequently deleted from chromosomes in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) and the research team will also explore treatment strategies exploiting this deficiency.



Young Investigator Award (YIA) Recipients:

Scott M. Haake, MD - Vanderbilt University Medical Center

W. Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD (Mentor) - Vanderbilt University Medical Center


Endogenous retrovirus expression drives immunogenicity of papillary renal cell carcinoma

In prior published work, Dr Haake and colleagues established that endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are a biomarker for immune response in ccRCC patients and a potential therapeutic target. This research project will shift focus to investigate ERV expression in papillary RCC (both type 1 and 2) to and how ERV impacts anti-tumor immune response in this under-studied RCC subtype.


• • • •


Akash Kumar Kaushik, PhD - University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Ralph J. DeBerardinis, MD, PhD (Mentor) - University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center


In vivo glutamine metabolism in VHL and FH mutant renal cell carcinoma

Dr Kaushik’s research project will take a closer look at the amino acid glutamine – a major source of energy and growth for some cancer cells – and its role in cellular activity. In particular, Dr Kaushik will investigate the efficacy of a glutaminase inhibitor in patient-derived mouse models with mutated

versions of the VHL and FH tumor suppressor genes. He will also examine how effective specific inhibitors of a key energy-generating cellular process are in VHL- and FH-mutant tumors.


• • • •


Ed Reznik, PhD - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

A. Ari Hakimi, MD (Mentor) - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


Metabolic determinants of the tumor microenvironment and sensitivity to
immunotherapy in ccRCC

The tumor microenvironment (TME), which includes blood vessels, stroma, immune and other types of cells, and signaling molecules, plays an important part in in the effectiveness of immunotherapy.
Dr Reznik will closely examine tumor metabolism as it relates to the TME of ccRCC. A better understanding of the TME and its varied components might help indicate which therapies are more likely to be effective for patients with ccRCC, thereby avoiding potentially unnecessary treatment. The findings also have the potential to identify new therapeutic targets.


• • • •


Tian Zhang, MD, MHS - Duke Cancer Institute

Daniel J. George, MD (Mentor) - Duke Cancer Institute


Immune correlates of immunotherapy responses in renal cell carcinoma

Patients with metastatic ccRCC have several options when it comes to first-line immunotherapy, including combination treatment with VEGF inhibitors that stop blood vessels from growing excessively. Choosing between options is still a challenge. Dr Zhang will analyze how the TME responds to immunotherapy. In addition, Dr Zhang will investigate a panel of five genes and its association with resistance to ipilimumab/nivolumab combination therapy.  KCJ

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The Official Journal of the Kidney Cancer Association

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