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BIDMC receives $11.3M grant renewal for Kidney Cancer SPORE

September 28, 2015

BOSTON - The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded an $11.3 million, five-year grant renewal to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) for its continued leadership of a multi-center kidney cancer research consortium. The NCI's highly competitive Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants promote interdisciplinary collaborations among basic scientists and clinical investigators designed to advance new and diverse approaches to the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting 18 different organs. BIDMC oversees the only Kidney Cancer SPORE program in the country, as it has done for the past 12 years.

The NCI Kidney Cancer SPORE is overseen by Co-Principal Investigators David F. McDermott, MD, director of the Biologic Therapy Kidney Cancer Program in the BIDMC Cancer Center and William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

"Through these NCI SPORE grants, basic scientists work collaboratively with clinical investigators to rapidly move laboratory discoveries into the clinic and to our patients," said McDermott. "The Kidney Cancer SPORE grant administered through BIDMC's Cancer Center has already been responsible for a significant number of important advances in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of kidney cancer, and we hope that the continuation of this funding will help to reveal new insights into this disease."

"Dr. McDermott and his predecessors in BIDMC's Cancer Center built the Kidney Cancer SPORE from scratch 12 years ago," said Pier Paolo Pandolfi, MD, PhD, Director of the BIDMC Cancer Center. "As the only SPORE in the country focused on kidney cancer, this program is vitally important not only to the research teams who are directly funded by this generous grant, but also to scientists throughout the world who are working on novel therapies and diagnostics for this devastating disease. I'm extremely proud of the leadership role that Dr. McDermott and the BIDMC Cancer Center continue to play in overseeing this tremendous program."

The Kidney Cancer SPORE represents a coordinated effort between a number of institutions in addition to BIDMC, including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital, as well as the Whitehead Institute at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. The SPORE Kidney Cancer consortium includes 35 researchers.

"This SPORE is focused on several overarching goals," said McDermott. "We first want to use the growing understanding of kidney cancer biology to target critical molecular pathways. We will also identify molecular biomarkers to help us better monitor and predict treatment outcomes for patients with kidney cancer. Finally, we will aim to understand the mechanisms by which kidney cancer becomes resistant to standard therapies and to develop effective treatment combinations to offset this resistance."

The Kidney Cancer SPORE will support four research projects that address critical problems in kidney cancer and have translational components. Among the SPORE research projects led by scientists at BIDMC is an investigation co-led by BIDMC's James W. Mier, MD, examining a new class of angiogenesis inhibitors to halt blood supply to kidney tumors. Another BIDMC-based research project, co-led by McDermott, will continue highly promising investigations into the use of immunotherapy for the treatment of solid tumors.

The SPORE grant additionally funds three core facilities, which are based at BIDMC and provide scientists with the infrastructure needed to conduct their research. These include an Administrative Core, a Biostatistics and Computational Biology Core, and a Tissue Acquisition, Pathology and Clinical Data Core. The grant also includes a career development component.

"Over its 12-year lifespan, this grant has not only provided direct funding for lab research and clinical investigation, but has also facilitated the growth and development of young investigators in the field of kidney research," said McDermott. "Many of the field's leading kidney cancer researchers got their start through our SPORE funding, and the renewal of this grant will ensure that we will be able to continue to support promising new and ideas and directions in kidney cancer research."

In addition to McDermott and Mier, other BIDMC investigators on the SPORE grant include BIDMC Cancer Center researchers Rupal Bhatt, MD, PhD, Kathleen Mahoney, MD, and David Panka, PhD.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding.

BIDMC is in the community with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Anna Jaques Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Lawrence General Hospital, Signature Healthcare, Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare, Community Care Alliance and Atrius Health. BIDMC is also clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and Hebrew Rehabilitation Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and The Jackson Laboratory. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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