• Vivek Kasinath, MD

    2022 Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant
    Vivek Kasinath, MD

    Vivek Kasinath, MD

    2022 Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant

    Institution: Brigham and Women's Hospital

    Project Title: Targeted Nanotherapeutics for Renal Cell Carcinoma

    How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

    A major focus of my research is to develop targeted therapeutics for kidney diseases.

    Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.

    Metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) causes 15,000 deaths per year in the United States, and the standard treatment for this cancer involves the use of systemic antineoplastic agents. Administration of these drugs can lead to severe off-target side effects, such as autoimmune diseases or infections that can result in death. Therefore, an unmet clinical need exists for antineoplastic therapy targeted specifically to the RCC tumor. Our laboratory has constructed, for the first time, a lambda light chain conjugated nanoparticle that localizes preferentially to the primary tumor and metastatic lesions of RCC. The primary objective of this project will be to establish that the use of nanovehicle-delivered antineoplastic therapeutic agents to the RCC tumor will improve their efficacy in reducing tumor growth while decreasing off-target toxicity.

    What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

    Caring for patients as a nephrologist has demonstrated to me the urgent need for the development of targeted treatments for kidney diseases. RCC is a malignancy that affects many patients that we see in clinic, as chronic kidney disease is a major risk factor for its development. However, it is a relatively understudied field of research for nephrologists.

    What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?

    I hope that my research will provide the basis for the development of targeted drugs for RCC patients.

    What are your career goals at the end of the grant period? Five years out? Ten years out?

    I would like to establish an independently funded laboratory by the end of the grant period. My ultimate goal is to become an independent physician-scientist in the field of targeted therapeutics for kidney disease.

    What has surprised you most about your career?

    The most surprising aspect has been the openness of other investigators—both senior and junior—to collaboration in our research endeavors. Working with people who have different but complementary types of expertise has been very rewarding.

    What are the major challenges facing nephrology research today?

    Encouraging nephrology fellows to pursue research in their careers is a major challenge. Increasing the availability of funding opportunities, such as KidneyCure, for young investigators is of upmost importance to boost the young physician-scientist workforce.

    What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?

    The KidneyCure Transition to Independence Grants are great sources of research funding for junior faculty members in the career development stage, especially for nephrologists. Funding opportunities for kidney disease research are scarce, so the KidneyCure Transition to Independence Grants are essential vehicles for stability.

    Something you may not know about me is…

    I am a big basketball fan.

    In my free time I like to…

    Spend time with my wife, explore new restaurants, read, and keep up to date with the news.