UT Southwestern – Cutting-edge Discoveries, Transforming Patient Care
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2014, 63,920 people were diagnosed with kidney cancer and 13,860 people died from the disease. At UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, we are committed to the development of new therapies and the search for a cure.
In 2013, UT Southwestern formalized its commitment to the care of kidney cancer patients and research on kidney cancer by officially instituting a Kidney Cancer Program (KCP). The KCP includes more than 20 physicians, many of whom are renowned international leaders in their fields of urology, pediatric oncology, adult oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, and pathology. In addition, more than 40 scientists with their research laboratories are a part of the KCP.
The KCP builds on landmark discoveries made by scientists at UT Southwestern over the last three decades. Drs. Steven McKnight and David Russell discovered HIF-2α, a protein that mediates kidney cancer development. Subsequent studies by Drs. Richard Bruick and Kevin Gardnerled to the development of a drug that blocks HIF-2 activity. In addition, DJ Pan, Ph.D., discovered that the TSC1/TSC2 complex regulates TOR, which is the target of two kidney cancer drugs. Years later, James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D., discovered mutations in TSC1 in kidney cancer, and the presence of these mutations may identify patients most likely to respond to TOR inhibitors. Finally, recent discoveries by several investigators at UT Southwestern, including Payal Kapur, M.D., determined that there are different subtypes of kidney cancer with different biology and outcomes.