Kidney cancer patients have 'prospect of longer life' after research breakthrough

Joint research at UCC and Harvard has identified treatment that could extend the lives of patients with the most common form of kidney cancer
Kidney cancer patients have 'prospect of longer life' after research breakthrough

Dr Thomas Walther, a professor in UCC says "the prospect of a longer life could be now possible" for those living with kidney cancer. File picture: iStock

New research at UCC and Harvard University has found a treatment that could potentially extend the lives of kidney cancer patients.

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the sixth most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the 10th in women, accounting for over 175,000 deaths annually worldwide.

The five-year survival rate for patients with metastatic RCC is only about 12%.

Resistance to therapy occurs in most patients, and new combinations of treatments to enhance the efficacy of current medication are urgently needed.

A team of investigators led by Dr Thomas Walther, Professor in Pharmacology at UCC, and Dr Rupal Bhatt, Associate Professor, Medicine, at Harvard Medical School, have identified that the enzyme ACE2 plays an essential role in resisting current therapies.

Dr Walther of UCC said: “If you have been diagnosed with kidney cancer the prospect of longer life could be now possible, but it requires immediate translation into clinical trials to test the new treatment regimen.” 

Elaborating on the further implications this research has on other cancers, Dr Walther says: “Furthermore, since resistance to VEGF-pathway inhibitors is a general problem in cancer treatment, our findings have broader implications for VEGF-pathway inhibitor therapies that beyond RCC could be extended to other types of cancers.” 

This new research has been published today in Science Translational Medicine.

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