New models of kidney cancer may drive immunotherapy research

June 9, 2017
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center scientists have developed preclinical laboratory models of the two most common types of kidney cancer, an advancement that may aid in the evaluation of novel immunotherapy combinations and targets.

William Y. Kim, MD, a UNC Lineberger member and associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine, and his colleagues report in the journal Nature Communications they have created mouse models of both papillary and clear cell renal cell carcinoma that faithfully mimic the genetic changes seen in tumors of patients with these cancers. The researchers envision using the models to study new potential treatments, including possible immunotherapy approaches.

"Having faithful genetic models of cancer will enable us to develop a better understanding of the biology behind these cancers," said Kim. "We also can use these models to look for new targets and validate them in the preclinical setting more quickly as well as to test possible novel treatments that, if they work well, could be considered for patients with these genomic alterations."

Kidney cancer is the eighth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. The National Cancer Institute estimates 65,000 people will be diagnosed with kidney cancer in the U.S. this year, and it will account for 14,000 deaths. Approximately 70 percent of kidney cancer cases are clear cell renal cell carcinoma and 10 percent are papillary renal cell carcinoma.

"If there are certain therapies that seem to work in these models, we can identify these same genetic abnormalities in people with these cancer types, since they may be the most likely to benefit," Kim said. "They will also be critical for testing new immunotherapy approaches, as these models have intact immune systems, which is something that has been limited in previous preclinical models of kidney cancer."

Although several targeted treatments have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for renal cell carcinoma, Kim said they target just two molecular pathways. Finding additional ways to attack kidney cancer using the models could be important for patients who have relapsed and are resistant to the existing treatments, he said.

"There is still a lot of room for drug development and target validation in other cancer signaling pathways that have gone awry," Kim said.

In addition to creating research tools that could be key to future research, the study also exposed the importance of a gene called MYC in the development of kidney cancer. By activating MYC alone, researchers were able to create a papillary kidney . To create a model of clear cell , they activated MYC and deleted two other genes. While fewer than 6 percent of patients with clear cell have been found to have all three of these genomic alterations, the researchers believe that the models may help test potential new treatments for patients with the clear cell subtype that have similar .

Explore further: Better treatment for kidney cancer thanks to new mouse model

Related Stories

Better treatment for kidney cancer thanks to new mouse model

May 30, 2017
Research in the field of kidney cancer, also called renal cancer, is vital, because many patients with this disease still cannot be cured today. Researchers from the University of Zurich have now identified some of the gene ...

FDA clears Pfizer drug for advanced kidney cancer

January 27, 2012
(AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new Pfizer drug for patients with advanced kidney cancer that has spread to other parts of the body despite treatment with at least one previous drug.

Rush clinical trial provides new kidney cancer immunotherapy option

May 19, 2017
Rush University Medical Center is among the first hospitals in the nation, and the only one in Illinois, to provide patients fighting advanced kidney access to a new combination immunotherapy that targets different immune ...

Study uncovers genetic differences for kidney cancer that may contribute to survival disparity in African-Americans

March 30, 2016
A University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center-led study has identified genetic differences in tumors of African-Americans with the most common type of kidney cancer compared with whites.

Combination of new drug, CB-839, with everolimus stops advanced kidney tumors growing

November 30, 2016
Munich, Germany: The first drug to target a key enzyme that cancer cells need to keep them alive has shown that it is effective in controlling disease in patients with advanced kidney cancer when it is used in combination ...

Chemical shift MRI helps differentiate renal cell tumors more likely to metastasize

April 19, 2013
Adding "chemical shift" techniques to MRI can help differentiate clear cell renal cell carcinoma from other types of renal cell cancer, a new study shows. That differentiation can help physicians better determine treatment ...

Recommended for you

Scientists develop blood test that spots tumor-derived DNA in people with early-stage cancers

August 16, 2017
In a bid to detect cancers early and in a noninvasive way, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report they have developed a test that spots tiny amounts of cancer-specific DNA in blood and have used it to ...

Toxic formaldehyde is produced inside our own cells, scientists discover

August 16, 2017
New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment - it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. This could provide new targets for developing ...

Cell cycle-blocking drugs can shrink tumors by enlisting immune system in attack on cancer

August 16, 2017
In the brief time that drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, doctors have made a startling observation: in certain patients, the drugs—designed to halt cancer ...

Popular immunotherapy target turns out to have a surprising buddy

August 16, 2017
The majority of current cancer immunotherapies focus on PD-L1. This well studied protein turns out to be controlled by a partner, CMTM6, a previously unexplored molecule that is now suddenly also a potential therapeutic target. ...

Researchers find 'switch' that turns on immune cells' tumor-killing ability

August 16, 2017
Molecular biologists led by Leonid Pobezinsky and his wife and research collaborator Elena Pobezinskaya at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have published results that for the first time show how a microRNA molecule ...

A metabolic treatment for pancreatic cancer?

August 15, 2017
Pancreatic cancer is now the third leading cause of cancer mortality. Its incidence is increasing in parallel with the population increase in obesity, and its five-year survival rate still hovers at just 8 to 9 percent. Research ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.