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No New Kidney Cancer Trials…Again

No New Kidney Cancer Trials…Again

NCI trial searchTen years ago, this search return from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) wouldn’t have meant anything to me. I’ll translate for you. It’s a search for new kidney cancer trials anywhere in the United States. The return: None. Same as last week.

Here’s what I see on that NCI page, and it isn’t a good feeling. My husband has scans July 12, and I literally don’t see anything new and promising to try.

Kidney cancer isn’t especially rare. It’s among the 10 most common cancers. And only 12% of Stage IV kidney cancer patients survive 5 years. Take a second and imagine that. A party with 100 of your favorite friends and family, and only 12 return for the 5-year reunion.

So why aren’t there any new kidney cancer trials? Let’s compare kidney cancer with melanoma, the sister disease. Like melanoma, kidney cancer is resistant to chemotherapy and radiation, but it is sensitive to immunotherapies. Like melanoma, there was little progress in treatment for decades. But there are 9,000 deaths each year from melanoma, and 14,000 deaths each year from kidney cancer.

Unlike kidney cancer, an NCI search for melanoma shows eight new trials.

Why is it that melanoma has eight new trials and kidney cancer has none? In part because kidney cancer has traditionally been an underfunded cancer—and an under-recognized cancer. A Google search shows multiple organizations focused on melanoma research funding. Until now, kidney cancer has not had an organization whose sole purpose is supporting research. Today we do—KCCure.

We have amazing new tools coming through in immunotherapy research and other areas. KCCure’s mission is to ensure that kidney cancer research receives consistent funding for creating new treatments—and ultimately, a cure. Please join KCCure in supporting kidney cancer research by making a contribution. We need your help.

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Susan Poteat is the KCCure Secretary. She has worked in cancer care since 1989 in the field of medical radiation physics and has been a prolific leader in kidney cancer forums, offering information on current research, clinical trials, imaging and radiation therapy.
  • Terri

    I am concerned with your statistic on stage IV cancer patients as I am being told that is no longer true and is old data. Can you clarify?

    • Susan Poteat

      Terri-You are right-patients who started treatment in 2016 will have a better than 12% 5 year survival because they have Nivolumab and cabozantinib available. How much better is a guess-that data won’t be available for another 5 years, but we have a long way to go before its even half. everyone is different-my husband is surviving almost years since a Stage IV diagnosis.

      This most recently published is the source of my data but published data is always a look back:

  • Susan Poteat

    July 9, 2016. No new trials this week for kidney cancer. We go for scans this week so I was hoping for something to be excited about. 🙁

  • Kimberly Mills

    Great article Susan! There should be more trials for patients out there.

    • Susan Poteat

      That is absolutely right. There should be more trials. Many of the most exciting new immunotherapy drugs are being developed for melanoma….when in fact they are equally promising for kidney cancer. With the help of the patient community and supporters we’re going to try to change that.

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