Kidney, or renal, cancer is diagnosed in more than 63,000 Americans each year. The most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma, or RCC, which forms in the lining of the small tubes that filter blood. Other types include renal pelvis carcinoma, which forms where urine collects in the kidney, and Wilms tumor, a childhood cancer.
At Fred Hutch, we study the basic biology of kidney cancer and explore new drugs and immunotherapies to treat the disease.
Kidney cancer is generally considered incurable once it spreads to other parts of the body. Fred Hutch scientists are researching ways to treat and even prevent advanced forms of kidney cancer through targeted new drug therapies and by training the body’s own immune system to fight tumors. For example, our scientists are reprogramming patients’ own T cells to better recognize and target kidney cancer cells. We also test drugs called checkpoint inhibitors, which take the brakes off a patient’s immune system so it mounts a better response against kidney cancer.
Our partners at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance use OncoScan, a genome-scanning technology, to determine whether the specific chromosomal abnormalities commonly found in kidney cancers are linked to patients’ outcomes after treatment with immunotherapies.
Clinical research is an essential part of the scientific process that leads to new treatments and better care. Clinical trials can also be a way for patients to get early access to new cutting-edge therapies. Our clinical research teams are running clinical studies on various kinds of kidney cancers.
Keith Strand found his calling in the lab — interning at Fred Hutch with the doctor who diagnosed his rare childhood kidney cancer. Today he is a Ph.D. student, studying cardiovascular fibrosis, the stiffening of blood vessels and heart muscle.