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The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) has awarded William Kim, MD, associate professor of medicine, urology, and genetics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, with the 2014 Bladder Cancer Research Innovation Award to support his project “Immune Characterization of High-Grade Bladder Cancer.”


The $300,000 two-year grant is generously supported by the James Family Foundation, in conjunction with Partner Fund Management. The aim of the 2014 Bladder Cancer Research Innovation Award is to support exceptionally novel and creative project with great potential to produce breakthroughs in the management of bladder cancer.
Dr. Kim is a seasoned researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill who hopes to bring genetic discoveries to bladder cancer. He has received numerous accolades and honors including a 2002 ASCO Young Investigator Award and 2009 Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award. Dr. Kim is also a National Cancer Institute funded researcher.

Dr. Kim will investigate the role of immunotherapy in combating bladder cancer. Immunotherapy treatments have been responsible for long-lasting responses in other types of cancer. With this research project, Dr. Kim hopes to both characterize the immune infiltrate found in bladder tumors as well as determine whether the recently described basal-like molecular subtype of bladder cancer can serve as a predictive biomarker for response and provide guidance on optimal therapy combinations, ultimately improving treatment options for those living with bladder cancer.

With this $300,000 award, the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network has invested $1 million to fund bladder cancer research since 2010. Bladder cancer is the 6th most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States and one of the most expensive cancers to treat, yet research is woefully underfunded.

“This is a significant milestone for BCAN to reach in a short period of time. We are overwhelmed by the success of the research program. We received 74 letters of intent for the Bladder Cancer Innovation Award but could choose only one project,” stated Diane Zipursky Quale, President and Co-Founder. “The interest in bladder cancer research is strong and we need to continue to raise funds to support programs that will yield discoveries.”

The Bladder Cancer Research Innovation Award complements the organization’s Young Investigator Awards, initiated in 2013, which engages young scientists. Three grants were awarded in 2014 totaling $300,000.

Sunny Guin, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Colorado at Denver
“The Role, Relationship and Therapeutic Potential of HAS2 and AGL in Bladder Cancer.”

Ryoichi Saito, MD, PhD, Research Associate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Consequences of ARID1A Inactivation in Bladder Cancer.”

Dmitriy Zamarin, MD, PhD Hematology/Oncology Fellow, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
“Defining Immunotherapy Targets in Bladder Cancer Microenvironment Using Oncolytic Viruses.”

For more information, go to or contact BCAN at 301-215-9099.

About the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network

The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network’s (BCAN) mission is to increase public awareness about bladder cancer, advance bladder cancer research, and provide educational and support services for the bladder cancer community.BCAN serves as the leading voice for bladder cancer in the U.S., providing resources to not only those diagnosed with the disease but their families, caregivers and the medical community united in support of people touched by the disease.

The organization is setting the agenda for bladder cancer by promoting and funding collaborative and cutting-edge research programs and providing critical patient support and education services. Each year, it provides thousands of patients, caregivers and the medical community with the educational resources and support services they need to navigate their bladder cancer journey.

BCAN works collaboratively with the medical and research professionals who are dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer and empowers the patient community by allowing them to share experiences with others, and to participate in building awareness of the need for a cure.