Funded Research

Proceeds from our Rock the Cure events ($105,000) have been used to explore exciting approaches to generate individualized vaccines for kidney cancer patients. The approach will use fresh biopsies from kidney cancer patients to accurately represent their current cancer immune profile. The cells are then cultured and multiplied using a novel cell culture technique and can serve in the future as the basis for a patient specific whole cell or RNA vaccine. The advantage of this approach is that it not only directs the immune system to the specific mutations of the tumor, but also other over expressed common and rare normal proteins and activated retroviruses. Thus, the full repertoire of targets for the immune system will be displayed. While vaccines in the past have been met with moderate benefit at best, they are now poised to synergize  with the modern immunotherapy revolution of immune checkpoint inhibitors.

My death sentence was commuted by something called RADVAX — a clinical trial in its second phase being run by Dr. Hans Hammers, a recent Johns Hopkins transplant to UT Southwestern. The trial is being funded by KidneyCAN.

Robert Wilonsky, kidney cancer patient

KCRS 2019

The 2019 Kidney Cancer Research Summit took place on September 12-13, 2019. Led by Dr. Toni Choueiri (Dana Farber Cancer Institute) and Dr. Hans Hammers (University of Texas Southwest Medical Center), this event brought together some of the most promising ideas for treatment. 


(Kidney Cancer Research Summit)

KidneyCAN gathered 150 of the key thought leaders in Kidney Cancer research at its inaugural Kidney Cancer Research Summit (KCRS’19) in Philadelphia, September 2019. Researchers, scientists, clinicians, government and industry partners had an opportunity to gather in one location and share their latest findings in a collaborative and discussion-centric environment.

KCRS’19 is a KidneyCAN led initiative to help break down research silos in order to defeat this disease.

Plans are underway for KCRS’20.

This is what started as a grassroot meeting for all the RCC community focusing on science, ultimate collaboration and inclusiveness. All in the hope of helping our patients live better,  live longer and dream of the cure. Why not?? Isn’t it what we all want if we get this disease ???

I feel this is the beginning of something very very special.

Toni Choueiri, MD  Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Toni Choueiri, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dear Susan, Bryan, Hans, Toni, steering committee members and all of you who participated in the planning, speaking, or moderating this inaugural meeting:

Kudos to all of you for an engaging and informative meeting!

To Ralph and Brenda: Thank you for inspiring us and reminding us of the urgency of our research. This is what all of our work is about, making a difference in the lives of patients with RCC, that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Nizar Tannir, MD

MD Anderson Cancer Center

Nizar Tannir, MD, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Kidney Cancer Coalition & KCAN: Stronger Together

Kidney Cancer Coalition and KCAN have joined forces to accelerate life-saving research and clinical trials for kidney cancer.

The union of these two complementary charitable organizations represents a promising step for the kidney cancer community.

Together, we’ll be known as KidneyCan—carrying that name forward while embracing the “CAN” legacy to reinforce our driven and optimistic vision for our role in the fight against this deadly disease.

Battling what is among the most prevalent forms of cancer among men (#6) and women (#10) in the U.S.*—yet still among the most under-funded and under-recognized cancers— patients, caregivers, advocates, and scientists are in dire need of greater awareness, funding, and action. That is our focus.

As one, we bring proven effectiveness at raising money for research—from grassroots efforts, to private contributions and corporate grants, up through substantial federal funding. Our impact in just four combined years of existence includes:

Spearheading efforts to initiate a $45 million Congressional grant program for research;

Raising over $1 million through local efforts and events including our “Rock the Cure” fundraisers, with over $725,000 already put to work in research labs and studies;

Leading the first-ever grassroots-funded clinical trial for kidney cancer; and

Earning a reputation for being extremely efficient at deploying capital directly to clinical and scientific endeavors in pursuit of breakthroughs.

Our founders—Brenda and Ralph Knapp, who started KC Coalition in 2016, and Bryan Lewis, who formed KCAN in 2017—recognized the potential benefits of pooling their strengths and resources. These three devoted leaders have personal experiences with kidney cancer, as patients, caregivers, and advocates. Their commitment to the cause is profound.

KidneyCAN had a successful day on the Hill, October 21-22, 2019 advocating for kidney cancer research.  Advocates from  GA, PA, MI, DC, MA, NY, MD, LA, NJ, VA, TX and WI showed up to let their voice be heard for continued research funding.  If your state was not represented, PLEASE consider attending our next advocacy day Spring 2020.

In the News

March 7, 2017 / News Page

First Ever Kidney Cancer Funding from Congress (CDMRP)

Congressionally-directed Medical Research Program. It took over a decade of hard work from kidney cancer advocates to obtain kidney cancer-specific research funding included in the federal budget. Nevertheless, in March of 2017 Congress approved and the president signed the Consolidation Appropriations Act.
Read More
November 10, 2016 / News Page

UT Southwestern – Cutting-edge Discoveries, Transforming Patient Care

UT Southwestern - Cutting-edge Discoveries, Transforming Patient Care The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2014, 63,920 people were diagnosed...
Read More
September 10, 2016 / News Page

New HIF-2 kidney cancer therapy more effective than current treatment, study shows

UT Southwestern investigators report in Nature a new class of drugs against renal cancer, HIF-2 inhibitors, which are more efficacious...
Read More
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Donate Now!

Since our inception in 2016, we have proudly given over $725,000 to Kidney Cancer Research!


Funded major projects to date include:

  • RADVAX investigator led immunotherapy trial for 25 advanced kidney cancer patients at UT Southwestern combining Nivolumab, Ipilimumab and SBRT.

  • Support of UT Southwestern’s Kidney Cancer Research Program. 1 of only 2 SPOREs (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) for Kidney Cancer in the US.

 Our primary sources of support are donations from the general public and fundraising.  

Our mission is to abolish Kidney Cancer as a threat to the life and health of patients through advocacy and accelerating research by  offering direct financial support for clinical and laboratory researchers with promising ideas.


Kidney Cancer strikes 73,000/year

14,970/year die from the disease

We want to help change those statistics!

Stay in Touch: Join The Kidney Cancer Coalition Email List!

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