Discovery of metabolic vulnerabilities in kidney tumors earns award for UTSW investigator


The Kidney Cancer Association has awarded Dr. Akash Kaushik with the 2019 Young Investigator Award for his discoveries on glutamine metabolism in kidney cancer. Dr. Kaushik is a post-doctoral researcher in the lab of Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis, a co-leader of the Kidney Cancer Program (KCP) specializing in metabolic disease. Working in collaboration with the KCP, Dr. Kaushik's findings uncovered potential metabolic vulnerabilities in kidney tumors. The Young Investigator Award is bestowed on physicians and scientists for investigation focused in urology and clinical oncology. Press Release

Annual patient conference highlights latest in kidney cancer treatments, clinical trials, and UTSW discoveries


On Sept. 22, 2019, the Kidney Cancer Program (KCP) hosted its sixth annual patient conference. For the nearly 300 people in attendance, it was an opportunity to learn about the latest in kidney cancer treatments, research, and clinical trials, and engage in one-on-one conversations with the apx. 30 clinicians and investigators in attendance. In addition to an expert-led, multidisciplinary panel discussion of a complex patient case, this year's General Session included a keynote address by Dr. James Willson, Chief Scientific Officer of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, as well as a presentation on a novel, new radiology test developed by the KCP to identify patients most likely to respond to immunotherapy. Breakout session topics ranged from genetics and risk factors to the latest developments in imaging and surveillance, radiation treatments, complex surgeries for advanced disease, and pathology and artificial intelligence. The annual event has become a hallmark of the KCP.

KCP leaders participate in inaugural research summit


KCP Co-Leader Dr. Hans Hammers served as co-chair for the inaugural Kidney Cancer Research Summit, held Sept. 12-13, 2019, in Philadelphia. Hosted by the Kidney Cancer Coalition - a prominent national patient advocacy organization, the event spotlighted the translational research being fueled by grant funding to the Kidney Cancer Research Program, part of the Dept. of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). Among the select group of clinicians and scientists invited to participate in the event were fellow KCP Co-Leader Dr. Payal Kapur and KCP Director Dr. James Brugarolas.

New UTSW drug holds promise for polycystic kidney disease


For the half a million people diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in the U.S., most will succumb to kidney failure, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant. UT Southwestern Medical Center's Dr. Vishal Patel has developed a potential new drug to treat this incurable, deadly form of kidney disease. Press Release

Targeted radiation controls metastatic kidney cancer


In a newly published study, Kidney Cancer Program researchers show how stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SAbR) can effectively treat oligometastatic kidney cancer while delaying the need for systemic therapy. Press Release

Annual charity 5K benefits pediatric kidney cancer research


More than 400 runners participated in the 2019 Joey's Wings Charity 5K. Now in its third year, the annual event supports the Joey's Wings Foundation, which helps raise money for pediatric kidney cancer research at UT Southwestern Medical Center. To date, the organization has provided $150,000 to UT Southwestern investigators to advance the study of translocation renal cell carcinoma (tRCC), a rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer.

Five UTSW researchers receive seed funding for kidney cancer research from the Kidney SPORE


The KCP SPORE funds five new investigators to pursue innovative research projects in kidney cancer. Drs. Maddy Artunduaga, Maralice Conacci-Sorrell, Aurelie Garant, and Khushbu Patel were awarded Career Enhancement Program awards, and Dr. Ivan D’Orso received a Developmental Research Program award. Their projects range from exploring a radiomics method for detection of aggressive pediatric kidney cancers to investigating a novel nucleolar protein implicated in driving tumor growth.

KCP expands research leadership team


The Kidney Cancer Program recently added two more distinguished members to its Scientific Advisory Board: Dr. E. Jason Abel with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and Dr. Brian Rini, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center’s Genitourinary Cancer Program. Established in 2014, the advisory board comprises noted physicians and scientists from across the country who serve as a resource for KCP leadership.

UT Southwestern team develops novel imaging test to predict immunotherapy response in kidney cancer


Funding from the V Foundation and SPORE awards spurs development of a much needed immunotherapy biomarker for kidney cancer. In a proof-of-principle study, KCP investigators transform an immunotherapy drug into a diagnostic tracer to illuminate kidney tumors likely to benefit from checkpoint inhibitors. Press Release

Dr. Brugarolas named 2019 Robert F. Schnoes Lecture Series speaker


Dr. James Brugarolas was the honorary guest speaker for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s 2019 Robert F. Schnoes Lecture Series. The annual event hosts prominent clinicians and researchers from around the country, sharing the latest cancer discoveries with faculty and residents of the UW Urology Program.