Kidney Cancer Program

Cutting-edge discoveries, transforming patient care.

UT Southwestern’s Kidney Cancer Program is one of two programs of excellence designated by the National Cancer Institute. This accreditation, along with our team approach, community engagement, and landmark discoveries and innovation, is what makes us special.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017, 64,990 people will be diagnosed with kidney cancer and 14,400 people will die from the disease. At UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, we are committed to the development of new therapies and the search for a cure.

One Mission

To bring together the strengths of UT Southwestern in both basic research and clinical medicine to improve the lives of kidney cancer patients.

In 2013, UT Southwestern formalized its commitment to the care of kidney cancer patients and research on kidney cancer by officially instituting a Kidney Cancer Program (KCP). The KCP includes more than 20 physicians, many of whom are renowned international leaders in their fields of urology, pediatric oncology, adult oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, and pathology. In addition, 81 scientists with their research laboratories are a part of the KCP.

The KCP builds on landmark discoveries made by scientists at UT Southwestern over the last three decades. Drs. Steven McKnight and David Russell discovered HIF-2α, a protein that mediates kidney cancer development. Subsequent studies by Drs. Richard Bruick and Kevin Gardner led to the development of a drug that blocks HIF-2 activity. In addition, DJ Pan, Ph.D., discovered that the TSC1/TSC2 complex regulates TOR, which is the target of two kidney cancer drugs. Years later, James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D., discovered mutations in TSC1 in kidney cancer, and the presence of these mutations may identify patients most likely to respond to TOR inhibitors. Finally, recent discoveries by several investigators at UT Southwestern, including Payal Kapur, M.D., determined that there are different subtypes of kidney cancer with different biology and outcomes.