Why do we need to raise funds for Kidney Cancer research?
Kidney Cancer is one of the most underfunded and under recognized cancers. Among men, kidney cancer ranks in the top five. Amongst women, Kidney Cancer ranks in the top seven.
Melanoma and Kidney Cancer have long been considered sister diseases. Both have a dire prognosis and a very poor response to traditional chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Both are among the most responsive of all cancers to Immunotherapy. Statistics show 40% more patients die from Kidney Cancer each year than melanoma. The most critical shortage of all funding areas for kidney Cancer has been in the small grant area. These small grant funds are largely supplied by non-profit organizations. Small grants of $100,000 or less often leads to much larger governmental NCI grants. Melanoma funding for the small grant area is about 20 times the current Kidney Cancer small grant funding. For Kidney Cancer research, the private funding for reviewed competitive grants appears to average around $500,000 per year from public records. By contrast, the two top funders of melanoma research provide over $10,000,000 in melanoma research grants each year. This is a critical time for Kidney Cancer research funding. Right now due to the lack of funding, many Immunotherapy approaches are being explored in Melanoma, but aren’t being pursued in Kidney Cancer. Lack of funding is leading to a severe shortage of Kidney Cancer trials and resulting in more deaths.
The 2016 Kidney Cancer Coalition Award Recipient:
Dr. Hans Hammers, MD, PhD
Dr. Hammers has dedicated his clinical and translational research to improve the treatment for patients with metastatic kidney cancer. His particular focus is on the development for new and improved approaches to immunotherapy for kidney cancer. He has led the kidney cancer efforts at Johns Hopkins but has recently been recruited to join the Kidney Cancer Program at UT Southwestern.
UT Southwestern has been one the most respected research institutions in this country and is home to many nationally and internationally recognized physicians and scientists, including six Nobel Laureates, 22 members of the National Academy of Sciences, and 18 members of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine).
The Kidney Cancer Program at UT Southwestern has recently been awarded a prestigious SPORE grant. This makes UT Southwestern the only other kidney cancer SPORE besides Harvard in the history of these awards.
Research: Learning More about Dr. Hammers and his RADVAX clinical trial
FUNDED RESEARCH: Proceeds from the 2016 ROCK THE CURE VA BEACH ($105,000) will be used to explore exciting approaches to generate individualized vaccines for kidney cancer patients. The approach will use fresh biopsies from kidney cancer patients to accurately represent their current cancer immune profile. The cells are then cultured and multiplied using a novel cell culture technique and can serve in the future as the basis for a patient specific whole cell or RNA vaccine. The advantage of this approach is that it not only directs the immune system to the specific mutations of the tumor, but also other over expressed common and rare normal proteins and activated retroviruses. Thus the full repertoire of targets for the immune system will be displayed. While vaccines in the past have been met with moderate benefit at best they are poised to synergize with the modern immunotherapy revolution of immune checkpoint inhibitors.