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Kidney Cancer Association Announces 2022 Grant Winners

The Kidney Cancer Association (KCA) awarded seven grants to researchers pursuing projects with the potential to improve kidney cancer treatment and care.

“This year we restructured the KCA’s grant program to benefit up-and-coming researchers for whom this type of funding at this point in their careers would make a significant difference,” said Dr. Daniel George, a medical oncologist at the Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, North Carolina and Chair of the KCA’s Medical Steering Committee. “I was thrilled with the competitive pool of applicants and even more excited to see our awardees run with their research endeavors in service of those with kidney cancer.”

Six researchers received a KCA Trailblazer Award, which is a new award category this year and funds promising young- to mid-career investigators to foster innovative kidney cancer research. One researcher received a KCA Psychosocial Focus Award, which launched in 2021 to address acute unmet needs in the kidney cancer community with respect to issues including quality of life, supportive and palliative care, pain management, and mental and emotional health. Each award is for $75,000.

“Developing new talent is a critical component of the kidney cancer research pipeline and one of our best chances at discovering more and better ways to treat our patients,” said Dr. Sumanta Pal, a medical oncologist at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California and Chair of the KCA’s Grant Committee. “Importantly, most of the 2022 awardees have never received funding from the KCA before, which should be a step towards equity across research and the opportunity to establish new hotbeds in this field.”

“Extending our research funding to investigators at earlier points in their careers, putting special emphasis on the psychosocial needs of those impacted by kidney cancer, which is underrecognized, and maintaining a strong patient advocate presence on our grant selection committee are all steps we’ve taken to ensure that KCA-funded research has impact,” said Gretchen E. Vaughan, the KCA’s President and CEO. “We’re thrilled to support these amazingly talented researchers and help them take the entire community to new heights of discovery that will move the needle in kidney cancer.”

KCA Trailblazer Award Winners

David Braun, MD, PhD – Yale School of Medicine

Research project: Dissecting the immunobiology of chromophobe renal cell carcinoma using single-cell transcriptomics

Nazli Dizman, MD – Yale School of Medicine

Research project: Impact of CBM588 on metabolomic profile in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC)

Pooja Ghatalia, MD – Fox Chase Cancer Center

Research project: Comparison of Immune Microenvironment between Patients of African and European Ancestry with Renal Cell Carcinoma

Sheldon Holder, MD, PhD – The Legorreta Cancer Center at Brown University

Research Project: Exploration of the Causes and Effects of Increased PIM1 Kinase Activity in Renal Cell Carcinoma

Srinivas Viswanathan, MD, PhD – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Research project: Advancing a Cell Surface Therapeutic Target in Translocation Renal Cell Carcinoma

Yufei Wang, PhD – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Research project: Design of CAIX Targeted Fine-Tuned Immune Restoring Safe (FIS) CAR-T Cell Therapy for Metastatic Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma (mccRCC)

KCA Psychosocial Focus Award

Erin Tagai, PhD, MPH – Fox Chase Cancer Center

Research project: Improving Patient-Reported Outcomes for Renal Cancer Patients on Active Surveillance


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.

Media Contact

Radha Chitale
Director of Communications
847.332.1051 ext. 113 | [email protected]