On December 8th and 9th, KidneyCAN once again rallied our delgates to Washington, DC, to ask for Congress to fund kidney cancer research. This advocacy event was entirely virtual, conducted via phone calls and Zoom meetings.

KidneyCAN advocates from all over the United States met with their Congressional representatives to accomplish a number of goals:

  • To speak as one voice and to have a clearly articulated “ask” of legislators based on the legislative priorities of the kidney cancer community.
  • To build awareness of kidney cancer as a leading killer disease.
  • To educate policymakers and staff on the impact of kidney cancer on individuals, caregivers, families, and other stakeholders.
  • To thank representatives for supporting issues impacting the community.
  • To represent the national kidney cancer community. To speak for those unable to speak or be present.
Sen Tester Speaking to Kidney Cancer Advocates

Senator John Tester (D-MT) and his legislative assistant Katie Rubinger meet with KidneyCAN president Bryan Lewis and advocate Debbie Talcott to discuss funding for the Kidney Cancer Research program through CDMRP.

Our asks are based on input from the kidney cancer community – patients, caregivers, researchers, and medical providers – and our knowledge of the legislative and funding processes.

Right now, we’re seeing Congress hammer out what they’re calling a “Cromnibus” This is a term policymakers have given to a spending bill that combines a short-term continuing resolution (the “cr” part) for some federal programs and a long-term omnibus to cover all remaining federal spending.

The House of Representatives has already approved $50 million in funding for the Kidney Cancer Research Program in 2021, and now we’re waiting to see if the Senate comes through.

Dr. Andrew Smith of University of Alabama at Birmingham describes his kidney cancer research, funded by a grant through the Kidney Cancer Research Program through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). Dr. Smith shares also his personal motivation for his work as well, having lost his brother to kidney cancer. We appreciate Dr. Smith taking the time to speak to Congressional representatives on KidneyCAN’s December Advocacy Days, where we asked Congress to continue and improve funding for the Kidney Cancer Research Program.

KCRP & Why It Matters

The KCRP (Kidney Cancer Research Program) has a significant impact and provides increased hope for our patient community. To date, 83 grants have been awarded totaling $41.5 million.

The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) program is also an economic driver and job creator, creating laboratory research jobs and creating robust growth from young investigators entering this field of medicine. Funding of the CDMRP through the Department of Defense helps fund high-impact research for cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and survivorship to support service members, their dependents and families, our veterans, and the American public at-large. Service men and women are at higher risk of kidney cancer due to a possible link of cancer and water contamination on military bases, ammunition dumping and subsequent clean up and exposure to some flame retardant materials.

Almost every major medical breakthrough in cancer can be traced back to the NCI and NIH over the last 50 years. More than 15.5 million American cancer survivors are alive today because of this research – that’s how much it matters! The CDMRP plays a vital role in kidney cancer research, and frankly, there isn’t any time to lose.

More than 73,750 Americans will be diagnosed with kidney cancer this year, and more than 15,000 patients will die. That means we are losing 40 people per day to this terrible disease. We are so grateful for the advocates who speak on behalf of the kidney cancer community on our Advocacy Days. Together, we will find a cure!