UNC Lineberger Scientist to Receive Inaugural Award from American Association for Cancer Research

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Kim Rathmell, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, will receive one of three INNOVATOR awards given by the American Association for Cancer Research and the Kirk A. and Dorothy P. Landon Foundation. The awards will be presented at the AACR’s 101st annual meeting on April 17-21 in Washington, DC.

Rathmell, a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, will receive the INNOVATOR Award for Research in Personalized Cancer Medicine. In its inaugural year, the award provides support for a physician-scientist who conducts meritorious studies that hold promise for near-patient benefit to accelerate progress in the area of personalized cancer medicine.

Rathmell’s project, Advancing Prognostic Algorithms for Renal Cell Carcinoma,focuses on renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer. This cancer spreads easily and many patients already have metastases at the time of diagnosis. Although surgery is an effective treatment for this cancer, incidence is increasing and more patients are presenting with metastatic disease. Very little information is available to identify those patients at risk of recurrence. With specific biomarkers, it will be easier for clinicians to determine those patients that are low risk and can be reassured of a good outcome and those that are at high risk and should be managed with more aggressive treatments.

Rathmell’s proposed work will build on her already compelling preliminary studies to determine a gene signature biomarker profile for renal cell carcinoma. This unique biomarker profile has the potential to provide increased information regarding clinical outcomes and effective treatment planning. Once she has defined the biomarker profile, she will validate it using tissues from a large number of patients with renal cell carcinoma.

Rathmell is presenting an abstract, Molecularly Defining Subgroups of Renal Cell Carcinoma, during the annual meeting session, “New Concepts in Organ Site Research Session, NC23. Mechanistic Approach to Targeted Therapy for Advanced Kidney Cancer,” on Monday, April 19.