Kidney Cancer Association Works with Conquer Cancer Foundation to Stimulate Breakthrough Research

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[KCA’s] consistent support of early-career research in kidney cancer is creating a pipeline of research talent that will enrich the field for years to come, building momentum with every project they support.

— Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH

For any nonprofit cancer organization, a key challenge is how to balance the enormous task of supporting cancer patients with the latest information about current treatments while helping to advance the search for new breakthroughs in therapeutic options. For the past 6 years, the Kidney Cancer Association (KCA) has addressed this challenge by working with the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO to leverage the strengths of both organizations.

Leveraging Strengths to Advance Clinical Research

KCA was founded in 1990 by a small group of patients, including Eugene P. Schonfeld, PhD, and medical doctors in Chicago, with the mission of not only educating and advocating on behalf of kidney cancer patients, but also funding breakthrough research in the field of kidney cancer. Since 2006, KCA has collaborated with the Conquer Cancer Foundation to sponsor eight Young Investigator Awards, the Foundation’s research grants for early-career physician scientists.

“We partnered with the Conquer Cancer Foundation to award an annual Young Investigator Award because of the expertise resident in the organization, because of the difference in scale—we knew that they would receive more and better-quality proposals—and because of the efficiency of the process, which relieves our small organization of the financial and logistic burden of reviewing proposals,” said Bill Bro, KCA Chief Executive Officer. “We’re very pleased with our collaboration. It’s an extremely effective synergy.”

Over 60,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year, and each year over 13,000 people lose their battle with this disease. Kidney cancer is the sixth most common cancer for men and the eighth most common cause of cancer for women.

KCA has sponsored more kidney cancer research projects than any organization of its size in the world. In its most recent fiscal year, KCA invested more than $650,000 in research-related program activities.

Recent Progress

In 2011, KCA supported a Young Investigator Award for Thai Ho, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, researching the role of the histone methyltransferase SETD2 in the development of renal cell carcinoma. Dr. Ho’s preliminary results were presented at the 10th International VHL Medical Symposium and the 2012 ASCO Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. He will present an update of his work at the upcoming 11th International Kidney Cancer Symposium, sponsored by KCA.

“We’re grateful to Dr. Ho and the many brilliant young researchers who have entered the field of kidney cancer research as the result of KCA’s funding of Young Investigator Awards, made collaboratively with the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Grants & Awards Program and AUA Foundation Research Scholars Program,” said Carrie Konosky, KCA Vice President for Public Affairs.

The latest KCA-funded Young Investigator Award recipient, Martin Voss, MD, from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, just began his project “Predictive Tissue Biomarkers for mTOR Inhibitors in Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC),” and the Conquer Cancer Foundation and KCA are excited to see continued productive results.

Upcoming Projects

KCA will also be supporting a 2013 Young Investigator Award that will be presented at the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting. The Conquer Cancer Foundation is currently accepting applications and encourages applications in the field of kidney cancer.

“We encourage those who are interested in kidney cancer research to apply for research grants,” continued Mr. Bro. “By working with the world’s most respected foundations, we are able to attract some of the best and brightest minds to this area of research. Together with the Conquer Cancer Foundation, we hope to bring candidates into the field that will help us to achieve our vision of a world that is free of death and suffering from renal cancers.”

“KCA has been an incredible, loyal supporter of the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Young Investigator Award program. Their consistent support of early-career research in kidney cancer is creating a pipeline of research talent that will enrich the field for years to come, building momentum with every project they support,” says Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH, Executive Director of the Conquer Cancer Foundation. “Together, we will all realize the Conquer Cancer Foundation’s ultimate vision: creating a world that’s free from the fear of cancer.”

Applications for the 2013 Young Investigator Award are due on September 27, 2012. To learn how to apply, please visit

To learn more about the Kidney Cancer Association, please visit To learn more about the Conquer Cancer Foundation, visit ■

© 2012. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.