This month, I’m excited to share a flurry of activity from multiple groups that show how looking outside the box will advance new areas of research, increase inclusivity, and lead to personalized care.
We held the KCA’s 2021 European International Kidney Cancer Symposium on April 23-24. Several talks focused on how our internal environment can impact tumors and the development or progression of kidney cancer. Rather than examining one medication or another, researchers discussed how understanding the cellular environment around a tumor (the tumor microenvironment) or the bacterial makeup of the body (the microbiome) could help identify new ways to diagnose and treat kidney cancer that could further improve patient lives.
Additionally, I was pleased to see many speakers push to prioritize patients in both research and care. They stressed the importance of, not just following guidelines like those from the National Comprehensive Care Network but collaborating with patients to take their unique clinical history, preferences, and treatment goals into account when developing a care plan. This patient-centered approach should be applied, too, they said, when designing research studies and assessing treatment outcomes. Read more highlights from EIKCS 2021.
A recent webinar hosted by the policy non-profit Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) similarly discussed a more patient-centric approach to clinical trials. During the “Modernizing Eligibility Criteria in Clinical Trials: How We Can Improve Patient Access and Representation” webinar, speakers from Friends, ASCO, the FDA, and the National Cancer Institute explored new initiatives for ensuring fewer roadblocks for patients wishing to enroll in research studies and allowing for expansion of the trial data to a wider variety of patients.
The KCA is making efforts to support expanding research data and access too. We recently announced a partnership with an innovative Boston-based technology company called Secure AI Labs, Inc (SAIL) to help us develop a platform for kidney cancer researchers to gather the medical data they need to conduct studies from different sources and institutions in a fast and secure way. We hope our collaborative Data Federation becomes a vital new way for researchers to gather information for current and future studies that will help answer questions about why kidney cancer behaves the way it does in greater detail than ever before. People with kidney cancer will also get the chance to participate first-hand. Read the press release for more details about the KCA/SAIL partnership and stay tuned for more details as this Data Federation begins to roll out!
Expanding the type of research conducted and who can participate in that research are important in helping improve care for people with kidney cancer, but knowledge is also a key factor. We are excited to participate in National Black Family Cancer Awareness Week – #BlackFamCan – happening June 17-23. This effort, spearheaded by the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence aims to increase cancer awareness in one of the most vulnerable segments. We will be presenting talks highlighting the importance of diversity in kidney cancer research and educational programs, including educational programs on renal medullary carcinoma, a condition linked to sickle cell trait which is “silently” carried by 1 in 13 African Americans in the United States. We are excited to participate in #BlackFamCan, a social awareness effort in June spearheaded by the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence
During National Cancer Research Month in May, we will be continuing our Facebook Live series on clinical trials with a discussion about enrollment and the “secret language” involved. Our first event in March covered the basics of clinical trials. Like our Facebook Page and subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss details about when the May Facebook Live will take place.
Overall, the message from April is clear: patients are not one-size-fits-all so the research and care shouldn’t be either.