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The Kidney Cancer Association (KCA) and the Chromophobe and Oncocytic Tumor Alliance (COA) will co-sponsor a 2024 research award specifically for researchers investigating distinguishing biological hallmarks of and treatments for chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (chRCC), a rare type of kidney cancer.

This Chromophobe RCC Focus Award will provide $75,000 for one year to the selected researcher. It is one of four research awards the KCA is funding in 2024.

Katie Coleman, COA’s founder who has been fundraising to bring this award to fruition since 2022, said providing strong support for researchers with a personal interest in and passion for chRCC research will be a key facet of this award. ChRCC accounts for about 5% of all renal cell carcinomas diagnosed each year.

“We know studying rare kidney cancers hasn’t always been easy,” Coleman said. “There are infrastructure, institutional, and logistical challenges that have made research difficult in the past. We know even when there is interest, there may not always be systems in place to support and sustain efforts or progress. But chRCC in the metastatic setting often doesn’t respond well to the existing treatments and therapies, highlighting an urgent need for dedicated research and treatments tailored to its biology.”

Coleman was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer herself a few years ago, which gave her new insights about limited funding and support for rare cancers and research and ignited a passion for creating new vehicles of support for those interested in researching these diseases.

In addition to an interest in rare kidney cancer research, the Chromophobe RCC Focus Award will ideally support researchers whose projects suggest future directions to advance the field.

“Our aim with this grant – and more broadly with COA – is to establish a network and foundation of support to expand existing or establish new research programs for chRCC,” Coleman said. “We are looking for researchers who have an interest and passion for studying chRCC and believe in supporting their efforts from several angles, ensuring they have what they need to be successful and to continue their research beyond this seed funding. Building this kind of dynamic ecosystem around chRCC will be critical in seeing the advances necessary for patients.” 

“I am thrilled about the prospects of this new initiative and its potential impact,” said Dr. Salvatore La Rosa, KCA’s Chief Scientific Officer. “The KCA Award Program is a catalyst for pioneering research and we hope this Chromophobe RCC Focus Award will play a crucial role in nurturing future leaders in chRCC and bringing greater awareness to rare kidney cancers. Our partnership with COA, bolstered by Katie’s insightful approach and the grant’s design, allows us to assess both the merit of individual proposals and the dedication to establishing or enhancing a sustained focus on this particular subtype of kidney cancer.”

The KCA’s 2024 Award Program is currently open for applications. This year, the program offers four awards that provide one year of funding to promising early- to mid-career investigators to foster innovative kidney cancer research: the Chromophobe RCC Focus Award and three Trailblazer Awards ($75,000) for any area of focus in kidney cancer. One of the Trailblazer Awards is once again in partnership with the Michael and Ina Korek Foundation.

Applications will be accepted through April 15, 2024. Award recipients will be announced in summer 2024.

Learn more about the KCA’s 2024 Award Program and submit an application.

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About the Chromophobe and Oncocytic Tumor Alliance

The Chromophobe and Oncocytic Tumor Alliance (COA) funds research that aims to identify biological hallmarks of chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (chRCC) to deepen learnings across institutions and to support efforts that aim to identify and test distinct therapeutic approaches. Additionally, COA aims to promote collaboration, create resources for those affected by the disease and to advance the understanding of chRCC through the dissemination of knowledge and research.

About the Kidney Cancer Association

The Kidney Cancer Association is a global community dedicated to serving and empowering patients and caregivers, and leading change through advocacy, research, and education in order to be the universal leader in finding the cure for kidney cancer. Founded in 1990 by Eugene P. Schonfeld and a small group of patients and doctors in Chicago, Illinois, the KCA has grown into an international non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas. The KCA promotes scientific advances through two annual research symposiums and a robust grant program, participates in legislative advocacy, and seeks to be a source of education and resources for patients, caregivers, and anyone impacted by kidney cancer.

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Radha Chitale
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