Kidney cancer is often detected too late to treat and historically survival rates are low. Fortunately, CPRIT has invested heavily into researching the causes behind kidney cancer and how to better treat it. As Director of the Kidney Cancer Program and Brugarolas Labs at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, James Brugarolas, MD, PhD has been the recipient of 6 CPRIT Academic Research grants exceeding $5.5 million. These CPRIT awards provided the seed funding for the Kidney Cancer Program to attain an NCI Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) award of $11 million, one of only two in the nation for kidney cancer. His program has seen patient survival rates double national benchmarks for stage IV patients. Collaborating with CPRIT Product Development grantee Peloton Therapeutics, it is the only program to develop a new drug for kidney cancer going from gene discovery to clinical trials.
Merlinda Chelette, a patient advocate at the UT Southwestern Kidney Cancer Center, who lost her battle with cancer in 2019. We featured her in this 2018 video .
Watch the testimony of Merlinda Chelette, a former kidney cancer patient and advocate at the UT Southwestern Kidney Cancer Center, discussing Dr. James Brugarolas and his team and the role they, with help from CPRIT, played in her treatment. Merlinda lost her battle with cancer in 2019.