BOSTON - Kidney cancer researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), working with Harvard-affiliated colleagues, have gained national prominence by acquiring a prestigious SPORE grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The $13 million, five-year federal grant is the first SPORE ever awarded for the study of kidney cancer.
An acronym for "Specialized Program of Research Excellence," SPORE grants are presented to groups of investigators from various disciplines that are dedicated to working collaboratively on a particular cancer type.
"SPORE grants help to fund and facilitate translational research," explains the grant's principal investigator Michael Atkins, MD, director of biologic therapy and cutaneous oncology at BIDMC. "The goal is to bring laboratory discoveries into clinical practice within the relatively short life of the grant." Vikas Sukhatme, MD, PhD, BIDMC division of nephrology, and William Kaelin, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), are co-principal investigators.
The other Harvard institutions represented in the grant are part of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, which supports cancer research activities at BIDMC, DFCI, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital Boston, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.
Focusing on early detection, minimally invasive therapy, angiogenesis inhibition, immune enhancement and identification of molecular prognostic and treatment selection criteria, the grant encompasses a broad translational effort directed at advancing the understanding and treatment of kidney cancer, says Atkins.
"Integrating this critical mass of investigators and research projects and disease-directed core activities through the SPORE grant will likely enhance the therapeutic options for our patients and attract additional funding for related research efforts," says Atkins. "Our goal is not only to conduct great science but to bring new treatments to renal cancer patients in a timely manner."