SPORE Award

  • Established by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1992, the SPORE program seeks to promote collaborative, interdisciplinary, translational cancer research
  • Cornerstone of NCI Translational Research Program
  • Recognizes programs of excellence with funding to advance scientific discoveries into treatments
  • Among more than 60 awards across cancer types: two focus on kidney cancer – one at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and the other at UT Southwestern

UT Southwestern Kidney Cancer SPORE

AWARDED
2016
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D.
AMOUNT
$11 Million
project1

PROJECT 1

Originally discovered at UT Southwestern (UTSW), HIF-2α, is arguably the most important engine driving kidney cancer development. UTSW scientists identified a vulnerability in HIF-2α leading to the development of chemicals that block its function. To develop these chemicals into drugs for human administration, Peloton Therapeutics, a start-up company, was founded in the UTSW BioCenter. Showing success in mice transplanted with human kidney cancer, UTSW doctors led a phase I clinical trial with promising results. In 2019, Peloton was acquired by Merck, who is currently running a phase 3 trial with the goal of obtaining FDA approval.

Lead Investigators
  • James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Kevin Courtney, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Ivan Pedrosa, M.D., Ph.D.
PROJECT 2

PROJECT 2

Having discovered that the BAP1 gene is mutated in kidney cancer, UT Southwestern investigators genetically engineered mice and showed that BAP1 mutations are responsible for inducing a particularly aggressive form of kidney cancer. Most recently, investigators have discovered that BAP1 mutant kidney cancers may be particularly responsive to immunotherapy offering some hope to these patients.

Lead Investigators
  • Payal Kapur, M.D.
  • Thomas Carroll, Ph.D.
  • Yonghao Yu, Ph.D.

PROJECT 3

After developing a method to assess nutrient consumption by kidney tumors in patients, UT Southwestern scientists are using mice transplanted with human kidney cancer to dissect the contribution of different nutrients and develop strategies that starve tumors.

Lead Investigators
  • Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Ivan Pedrosa, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Vitaly Margulis, M.D.
Advanced Imaging Core​

Having developed new radiology tests currently being evaluated in patients, and assisting with radiology interpretation, the Advanced Imaging Core is advancing the mission of the SPORE.

Data Analytics Core

By developing new technologies, such as Kidney Cancer Explorer, the data analytics core enables multidisciplinary research.

Pathology Core

Supporting the SPORE through the storage, annotation and distribution of patient samples and the creation of transplant and other animal models.

Admin Core

Organizing hub

Developmental Research Program

Seed funding supporting kidney cancer projects with transformative potential.

Career Enhancement Program

Drawing new investigators to kidney cancer research.

PROJECT 2

Having discovered that the BAP1 gene is mutated in kidney cancer, UT Southwestern investigators genetically engineered mice and showed that BAP1 mutations are responsible for inducing a particularly aggressive form of kidney cancer. Most recently, investigators have discovered that BAP1 mutant kidney cancers may be particularly responsive to immunotherapy offering some hope to these patients.

Lead Investigators
  • Payal Kapur, M.D.
  • Thomas Carroll, Ph.D.
  • Yonghao Yu, Ph.D.

PROJECT 3

After developing a method to assess nutrient consumption by kidney tumors in patients, UT Southwestern scientists are using mice transplanted with human kidney cancer to dissect the contribution of different nutrients and develop strategies that starve tumors.

Lead Investigators
  • Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Ivan Pedrosa, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Vitaly Margulis, M.D.

PROJECT 4

Having discovered mutations in cellular protein recycling processes in childhood kidney cancer, investigators have generated new mouse models and are evaluating therapeutic interventions.

Lead Investigators
  • Joshua Mendell, M.D., Ph.D.
  • James Amatruda, M.D., Ph. D.