New Canadian research projects include work to block spread of kidney cancer

May 19, 2017

BY RANJENA MALONI

Kidney Cancer Canada is funding several exciting research projects across the country that are working at ways to stop the spread of kidney cancer and to develop tests so that doctors can determine what drugs will work for individual patients.

A partnership of the Kidney Cancer Research Network of Canada, The Canadian Urological Association Scholarship Foundation and Kidney Canada Canada is investing more than $133,000 in the projects. The research grants were awarded at the 8th Annual Canadian Kidney Cancer Forum organized by the Research Network, bringing clinicians, nurses and patients together to work on ways to improve the lives of kidney cancer patients.

“We are thrilled to join this important research partnership”, says Christine Collins, Vice Chair of Kidney Cancer Canada and patient “These projects will only enhance the work of Canadian clinicians and bring us one step closer to a cure”. 

 


BLOCKING  THE SPREAD OF KIDNEY CANCER

 

A team of researchers from the Department of Oncology at the University of Alberta is working to understand the role of novel genes in metastasis of kidney cancer. The goal of the project is a greater understanding of the genes in kidney cancer metastasis so new therapies can be designed to turn off these genes off and block the spread of kidney cancer.

Dr. Jan Rudzinski

Photo: Dr. Jan Rudzinski accepts the research grant award from Dr. Michael Jewett (Kidney Cancer Research Network of Canada), Dr. Ilias Cagiannos (Canadian Urological Association Scholarship Foundation) and Christine Collins (Kidney Canada Canada).


THE SEARCH TO IMPROVE A CURE

 

A team collaborating from the Departments of Surgery and Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto is looking at drugs (known as immunotherapies) that harness a patient’s immune system to attack kidney cancer.

Immunotherapy has demonstrated a remarkable ability to cure some patients, however this process is limited as patients often experience a resistance to therapy. The goal of the U of T project is to test a novel treatment strategy that may circumvent resistance.

The researchers hope to develop a proof of concept that supports the study of their developed therapy in clinical trials for patients with metastatic kidney cancer.  The therapy could then be used as a new drug to treat patients with metastatic kidney cancer and improve current survival outcomes.

 

Dr. Keith Lawson

Photo: Dr. Keith Lawson accepts the grant award from Dr. Michael Jewett (Kidney Cancer Research Network of Canada), Dr. Ilias Cagiannos (Canadian Urological Association Scholarship Foundation) and Christine Collins (Kidney Canada Canada).

 

IMPROVING THE BENEFITS OF DRUGS

 

The third project funded the by partnership is research at the Department of Urological Services at the University of British Columbia to identify predictive biomarkers associated to the response or resistance of kidney cancer and immunotherapy drugs.

The researchers are looking at tumor DNA released in the blood by the tumor cells and whether specific abnormalities correlate with the response to therapy.  If a strong correlation is found, gene sequencing could represent a simple, non- invasive method to personalize the treatment of patients with metastatic kidney cancer and allow doctors to offer a specific drug to a patient increasing the chance the patient will benefit from the therapy.

Dr. Lucia Nappi

Photo: Dr. Lucia Nappiaccepts the grant awardfrom Dr. Michael Jewett (Kidney Cancer Research Network of Canada), Dr. Ilias Cagiannos (Canadian Urological Association Scholarship Foundation) and Christine Collins (Kidney Canada Canada).

 

Ranjena Maloni is the Project Manager of the Kidney Cancer Research Network of Canada, a virtual and inclusive network of researchers committed to the facilitation of kidney cancer research across different site in Canada. The Network works to enhance the knowledge of kidney cancer and its treatment.  Kidney Cancer Canada is a supporting and founding partner of the Kidney Cancer Research Network of Canada.

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