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Advanced Discovery Award (ADA) Recipients

Research Team

Kathleen M. Mahoney, MD, PhD – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center
Gordon J. Freeman, PhD – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Rupal S. Bhatt, MD, PhD – Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center

HHLA2/KIR3DL3 as a novel therapeutic immune checkpoint pathway in renal cancer
This research team will explore a novel immune checkpoint pathway that is similar to, but non-overlapping with, the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, which has been the key driver of advances in immunotherapy that led to much improved outcomes for many patients with cancer. A better understanding of how this HHLA2/KIR3DL3 pathway works and determining if disrupting it allows immune cells to target and destroy cancer cells could be particularly important for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) who might not benefit from existing immunotherapies.


Research Team

Eric Jonasch, MD – The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Guang Peng, PhD – The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

S-phase DNA damage response links genomic instability mechanisms to anti-tumor immunity in renal cell carcinoma
This research team will investigate how the novel tumor suppressor gene NPRL2 functions. The team will study how NPRL2 triggers innate immune response in RCC through impairing S-phase DNA damage response (S-DDR). NPRL2 is frequently deleted from chromosomes in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) and the research team will also explore treatment strategies exploiting this deficiency.


Young Investigator Award (YIA) Recipients

Scott M. Haake, MD – Vanderbilt University Medical Center
W. Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD (Mentor) – Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Endogenous retrovirus expression drives immunogenicity of papillary renal cell carcinoma
In prior published work, Dr. Haake and colleagues established that endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are a biomarker for immune response in ccRCC patients and a potential therapeutic target. This research project will shift focus to investigate ERV expression in papillary RCC (both type 1 and 2) to and how ERV impacts anti-tumor immune response in this understudied RCC subtype.


Akash Kumar Kaushik, PhD – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Ralph J. DeBerardinis, MD, PhD (Mentor) – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

In vivo glutamine metabolism in VHL and FH mutant renal cell carcinoma
Dr. Kaushik’s research project will take a closer look at the amino acid glutamine – a major source of energy and growth for some cancer cells – and its role in cellular activity. In particular, Dr. Kaushik will investigate the efficacy of a glutaminase inhibitor in patient-derived mouse models with mutated versions of the VHL and FH tumor suppressor genes. He will also examine how effective specific inhibitors of a key energy-generating cellular process are in VHL- and FH-mutant tumors.


Ed Reznik, PhD – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
A. Ari Hakimi, MD (Mentor) – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Metabolic determinants of the tumor microenvironment and sensitivity to immunotherapy in ccRCC
The tumor microenvironment (TME), which includes blood vessels, stroma, immune and other types of cells, and signaling molecules, plays an important part in in the effectiveness of immunotherapy. Dr. Reznik will closely examine tumor metabolism as it relates to the TME of ccRCC. A better understanding of the TME and its varied components might help indicate which therapies are more likely to be effective for patients with ccRCC, thereby avoiding potentially unnecessary treatment. The findings also have the potential to identify new therapeutic targets.


Tian Zhang, MD, MHS – Duke Cancer Institute
Daniel J. George, MD (Mentor) – Duke Cancer Institute

Immune correlates of immunotherapy responses in renal cell carcinoma
Patients with metastatic ccRCC have several options when it comes to first-line immunotherapy, including combination treatment with VEGF inhibitors that stop blood vessels from growing excessively. Choosing between options is still a challenge. Dr. Zhang will analyze how the TME responds to immunotherapy. In addition, Dr. Zhang will investigate a panel of five genes and its association with resistance to ipilimumab/nivolumab combination therapy.

Following are examples of some of the many Young Investigator Awards and research grants made through generous contributions to the Eugene P. Schonfeld Fund

ASCO Annual Meeting Merit Award recipient supported by Kidney Cancer Association
Lisa Derosa, MD – First Author
Poster Board: #345 • Abstract 4519
“Gut microbiome composition to predict resistance in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients on nivolumab.”
Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus, Paris Saclay University

ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Award
Liam C. Macleod, MD, MPH, University of Pittsburgh
“Quality, Regionalization and Access in Advanced Kidney Cancer”
Mentored by Bruce Jacobs, MD, MPH

Andrew C. Novick & P.H.M. de Mulder Research Scholar Award
Xiao Wei, MD, MAS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
“PD-L1 and VEGF coinhibition in advanced non-clear cell renal cell carcinoma”
Mentor team: Drs. Choueiri, Van Allen, and Signoretti

David A. Swanson, MD, Research Scholar Award
Pavlos Msaouel, MD, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer
“Guanine Deaminase as a Novel Biomarker of Response to Microtubule-Targeting Agents in Renal Cell Carcinomas”
Mentored by Nizar Tannir, MD

David A. Swanson, MD, Research Scholar Award
Patrick G. Pilié, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer
“Identifying and Targeting DNA Damage Response Deficiency in Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma”
Mentored by Eric Jonasch, MD

David A. Swanson, MD, Research Scholar Award
Pooja Ghatalia, MD, Fox Chase Cancer Center
“Characterization of tumor infiltrating immune cells and development of immune gene signature in localized clear cell (cc) renal cell carcinoma (RCC) ”
Mentored by Elizabeth Plimack, MD, MS

David A. Swanson, MD, Research Scholar Award
Phillip Abbosh, MD, PhD, The Research Institute of Fox Chase Cancer Center
“Evaluation of the role of PBRM1 loss in Polycomb repression and stem cell maintenance” [Final Research Report]
Mentor team: Drs. Cairns, Testa, and Wafik El-Deiry

Andrew C. Novick & P.H.M. de Mulder Research Scholar Award
Maria Isabel Carlo, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
“A Pilot Study of Neoadjuvant Nivolumab in High-Risk, Non-Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma”
Mentored by Robert J. Motzer, MD

ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Award
Raj Gopal, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital
“Mitochondrial Profiling in Kidney Cancer” 
Mentored by Vamsi Mootha, MD

Andrew C. Novick & P.H.M. de Mulder / AUA Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar Award
Abraham Hakimi, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
“Interrogation of the Sorbitol Pathway in VHL-Independent HIF driven Renal Cell Carcinomas”
Mentored by James J. Hsieh, MD, PhD

ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Award
Matthew T. Campbell, MD, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
“Enhancing therapeutic efficacy in metastatic renal cell carcinoma by combining immune check point blockade with cryoablation”
Mentored by Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD

ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Award
Kathleen M. Mahoney, MD, PhD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
“PD‐L1 and a secretory variant in Renal Cell Carcinoma”
Mentored by  Gordon Freeman, PhD

ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Award
Eliezer Van Allen, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
“Dissecting clinical resistance to PI3K inhibitors in PIK3CA or PTEN-mutant cancers.”

Andrew C. Novick & P.H.M. de Mulder / AUA Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar Award
Erik Brincks, PhD, University of Minnnesota, under the mentorship of Thomas S. Griffith, PhD.
“The Influence of Obesity on the Immunotherapy of Renal Cell Carcinoma”

Dana Farber / Harvard Cancer Center Kidney Cancer SPORE Developmental Projects Program
Andrew A. Wagner, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School.  Co-Investigators: Steven Chang MD, BWH; Martin G. Sanda, MD, BIDMC; Su-Chun Cheng, ScD, DFCI; William C. DeWolf, MD, BIDMC; Sarah B. Kim, BA, BIDMC
“Evaluating Comparative Effectiveness of Open and Minimally Invasive Kidney Surgery: Patient-Reported Quality-of-Life Outcomes and Cost Effectiveness”

ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Award
Martin Voss, MD,Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research
“Predictive Tissue Biomarkers for mTOR Inhibitors in Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC).”
Mentored by Robert Motzer, MD

ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Award
Thai Ho, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
“The role of SETD2, a histone methyltransferase, in the development of renal cell carcinoma”

Andrew C. Novick, MD and P.H.M. deMulder, MD, AUA Foundation Research Scholar Award
Weijun Liu, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, under the mentorship of James Gnarra, PhD
“VHL Tumor Suppressor and Cell Cycle Regulation”

ASCO Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award
Aditya Bardia, MD, MPH, Post-doctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins University
“Evaluation of cardiac glycoside, digoxin, as a novel inhibitor of Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1a and its target genes in tumor microenvironment.”

Dana Farber / Harvard Cancer Center Kidney Cancer SPORE Developmental Projects Program
Steven L. Chang, MD
“Cost Effectiveness Analysis of Routine Percutaneous Renal Biopsy in the Management of Small Renal Masses”

Dana Farber / Harvard Cancer Center Kidney Cancer SPORE Developmental Projects Program
PI: Sabina Signoretti, MD | Co-Investigators: Hans-Olov Adami, MD, PhD & Toni Choueiri, MD
“Clinical, Histological, and Molecular Determinants of Bilateral Renal Cell Cancer”

Andrew C. Novick & P.H.M. de Mulder / AUA Foundation Research Scholar Award
Brian Chapin, MD
M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
“The Endothelial Cell As The Mediator of Angiogenic Escape in Renal Cell Carcinoma”

ASCO Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award
Stephen Keefe, MD
University of Pennsylvania
“Predicting Response to Antiangiogenic Therapies in Renal Cell Carcinoma”

AUA Foundation Research Scholar Award
David Miller, MD, MPH
UCLA Department of Urology
“Unwarranted Variation in Surgical Treatment of Patients with Early-Stage Kidney Cancer”

ASCO Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award
Henk Verheul, MD, PhD
Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
“Combination Antiangiogenesis and Anticoagulatory Therapy in Patients with Advanced Renal Cancer”

ASCO Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award
Patricia Tang, MD
Princess Margaret Hospital
“The Role of VEGF-A Signalling in Maintenance of the Glomerular Filtration Barrier and Blood Pressure”

P. H.M. de Mulder, MD, AUA Foundation Research Scholar Award
Brian Lane, MD, PhD
Cleveland Clinic Urological Institute
“Molecular Prediction of Kidney Cancer Recurrence after Nephrectomy”

P. H.M. de Mulder, MD, AUA Foundation Research Scholar Award
Stephen Culp, MD, PhD
M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
“Action and Resistance of Targeted Therapy in Non-Clear Cell RCC”

P. H.M. de Mulder, MD, AUA Foundation Research Scholar Award
Kevin Courtney, MD, PhD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
“Idenfication of Activators of Phosphoinositide 3-kinase Signaling in Renal Cell Carcinoma as Potential Therapeutic Targets”

P. H.M. de Mulder, MD, ASCO Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award
Aymen Elfiky, MD, MA
Yale University
“Targeting Phosphoinositide 3-kinase in Renal Cell Cancer”

Joel W. Slaton, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Urologic Surgery
University of Minnesota
“The Effect of Organ Site on Expression of Progression-Related Genes and Response to Low-Dose Interferon-alpha (IFN-Alpha) Therapy in Renal Cell Carcinoma”

James D. Brooks, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Urology
Stanford University Medical Center
“Gene Expression Profiling of Renal Cell Carcinoma: A New Cancer Taxonomy”

David A. Stulberg Career Investigator Award
Jared A. Gollob, MD
Associate Director of Biologic Therapy Program
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
“The Effect of Combination Therapy With IL-12 Plus IL-2 on Immune Activation and Antitumor Immunity in Patients with Renal Cell Cancer”

Senior Career Investigator Award
James H. Finke, PhD
Department of Immunology
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
“Altered T Cell Signaling in Renal Cell Carcinoma”

The Novick research awards are made in memory of our colleague, the late Andrew C. Novick, MD, Chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, who died in 2008 from complications of lymphoma.

The P.H.M. de Mulder research awards are made possible, in part, by a generous contribution to our research endowment from Bayer Shering Pharma in memory of our colleague, P. H.M. de Mulder, MD, who died in 2007 from kidney cancer.