Earlier this year, the 2nd International Conference for Organizations Representing Patients with Kidney Cancer was held in Rome, Italy. This meeting was organised by the International Kidney Cancer Coalition, with the aim of “expanding circles in supporting kidney cancer”. Consequently, clinicians, scientists, patients and patient advocates were brought together from around the world to share their ideas and experiences of renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
The conference began with an introductory session about the biology of RCC from Professor Rachel Giles (University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands), who was also representing the Dutch VHL interest group and the Dutch kidney and bladder cancer association (Waterloop). In addition to studying how mutations in genes such as VHL affect cilia function and tumour formation, Professor Giles’ lab is also investigating the possible effects of a drug called PTC124 on FLCN mutations in vitro. It is thought that PTC124 may make ribosomes less sensitive to premature stop codons introduced by nonsense mutations, potentially leading to the synthesis of a functional protein.
The next set of sessions enabled several patient organisations from Europe, America and Africa to highlight their work in supporting cancer patients. In particular, the Juliet Ibrahim Foundation enlists celebrities from Ghana and Nigeria to help conduct awareness campaigns, such as this music video about kidney cancer.
On the second day of the conference, Dr Sergio Bracarda, a Senior Oncologist from Ospedale San Donato (Arezzo, Italy), discussed current treatment options such as mTOR inhibitors (everolimus, temsirolimus), VEGF inhibitors (bevacizumab) and VEGF-R tyrosine kinase inhibitors (axitinib, pazopanib, sorafenib, sunitinib, tivozanib). However, it was stressed that it is important to take into account the safety and efficacy of these drugs, and if patients are taking medication for any other long-term illnesses, when selecting a treatment regimen. Dr Cora Sternberg, the Chief of Medical Oncology at the San Camillo and Forlanini Hospitals (Rome, Italy), then discussed novel targets in kidney cancer treatment, such as FGF-R, HIF2α, PI3K/mTORC2, c-MET and PD-1/PD-L1. In the future, could potential treatments based on these targets be of use for BHD syndrome?
Overall, the conference was brilliantly organised and those who attended were very passionate about the well-being of kidney cancer patients throughout the world. Please do look at our Conferences and Events page for more information regarding forthcoming meetings that may be of interest to those involved in BHD syndrome.