Kidney cancer biology and therapy

Rationale: Kidney cancer is the 8th commonest cancer in the UK, with around 12000 new cases each year. It is characterised by being highly variable in its aggressiveness and response to treatment. Current therapies do not work in all patients, they are toxic and they usually stop working after a few months. We therefore need tests to help us identify which patients have aggressive cancers that are likely to spread and which tumours will respond to existing treatments. We also need to urgently discover new ways to treat kidney cancer. These are the aims of this project. 

Plan of work: The project has a clear path towards patient benefit. By identifying important genes and proteins that regulate tumour growth and metastasis (cancer spread) we can develop tests to identify which patients are at higher risk of relapse after their cancer has been removed, for example. Such tests do not currently exist. In addition, we may also identify ways to predict which patients may be resistant to currently used drugs, so that alternative therapies can be tried. Finally, we hope to identify new ways to treat kidney cancer, which is crucial to improve the outlook for patients with this disease. We will use tumour and blood samples from patients with kidney cancer to help validate our findings in mice. 

Animal Welfare: We are committed to minimising the numbers of mice used in our experiments. We will prioritise and rationalise experiments based on initial experiments in the laboratory (in vitro studies). Small, pilot experiments will be conducted, where necessary, prior to carrying out larger experiments. Multiple parameters will be analysed in each individual experiment, to provide maximum information from the minimum number of animals. Statistical analyses will also be conducted to determine the minimum number of animals required to achieve a significant result.

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