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BIDMC investigator James Mier, M.D., awarded prominent grant for kidney cancer research
Date:3/20/2013

BOSTON -- James W. Mier, MD, an investigator in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and Director of Basic Research for the Biologic Therapy Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), has been awarded an AACR-Kure It Grant for Kidney Cancer Research from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the nonprofit organization Kure It. The $250,000 award will be presented to Mier on April 9, during the 2013 AACR Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

The AACR Kure-It grants provide support for innovative translational kidney cancer research designed to improve the survival and quality of life of patients with kidney cancer. Mier is one of only two recipients of the two-year grants.

Mier's research focuses on tumor angiogenesis in renal cell carcinomas and an understanding of how and why renal cell carcinomas develop resistance to VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) inhibitors. "An immediate challenge in kidney cancer concerns determining what drives resistance to VEGF inhibition and how to overcome it," explains Mier, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and investigator in the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.

Common mutations in kidney cancer turn on genes that signal oxygen deprivation. This promotes the growth of new blood vessels and alters cancer cell metabolism towards pathways that support more rapid growth, proliferation and metastasis. A tumor's dependence on new blood vessel growth, known as angiogenesis, makes it sensitive to anti-angiogenesis drugs, which have been used to treat kidney cancer. However, over time, kidney cancer can become resistant to these agents.

But as Mier explains, unlike in lung cancer and other cancers, kidney cancer's resistance to VEGF inhibitor drugs does not result from the cancer cells acquiring new mutations. "Instead, the kidney tumor makes reversible, metabolic adaptations to survive hypoxia, the depletion of oxygen induced by the l
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Contact: Bonnie Prescott
bprescot@bidmc.harvard.edu
617-667-7306
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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