Ten 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.