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New Funding to Support Kidney Cancer Research in Braun Lab

July 18, 2023

The laboratory of David A. Braun, MD, PhD, has received approximately $5.75M in federal awards to fund mechanisms of response and resistance to immune therapy in kidney cancer at Yale Cancer Center. Funding from the National Cancer Institute and the Department of Defense will support new projects in Dr. Braun’s lab to investigate the immune microenvironment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) or kidney cancer.

The National Cancer Institute has awarded Dr. Braun an R37 MERIT Award, which is an extension of an R01 and provides longer term grant funding to particularly meritorious applications from early-stage investigators. This grant will support his laboratory’s work on the “Tumor and immune determinants of effective anti-tumor immunity in renal cell carcinoma.” His laboratory will study the mechanisms of immune resistance to treatment that impacts many patients with RCC. By defining the molecular alterations in RCC that impact immune infiltration and ultimately immune response, the research team hopes to better understand how the immune microenvironment of the tumor impacts response to therapies. Dr. Braun’s lab will then leverage this understanding of the mechanisms of response and resistance to treatment for RCC to better develop long term strategies for treatment and help to improve outcomes for patients. Dr. Braun is the Principal Investigator for the grant, and Yale Cancer Center co-investigators include Marcus Bosenberg, MD, PhD, Adebowale Adeniran, MD, and Wei Cheng, PhD.

Through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) Kidney Cancer Research Program, Dr. Braun has also received an Idea Development Award from the Department of Defense (DoD). The grant will support his laboratory’s work on “Uncovering the tumor-immune microenvironmental determinants of immunotherapy response in renal cell carcinoma through ex vivo patient-derived models.” This research will investigate patient tumors and immune cells using patient-derived ex vivo platforms to evaluate T cell function and tumor markers. The data resulting data will help to determine the impact of inhibitor specific immune receptors on overall immune response in RCC. Dr. Braun is the Principal Investigator for the grant, and the Yale co-investigator is Harriet Kluger, MD.

David Braun, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology), a Louis Goodman and Alfred Gilman Yale Scholar, and Principal Investigator within the Center of Molecular and Cellular Oncology (CMCO) at Yale Cancer Center. He received his PhD in Computational Biology from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Science at New York University and his medical degree from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He completed his residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he received the Dunn Medical Intern Award and served as Chief Medical Resident before completing fellowship training in adult oncology through the Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare program where he was appointed the Emil Frei Fellow and the John R. Svenson Fellow. He is the recipient of the Kidney Cancer Association Trailblazer Award, and the Young Physician-Scientist Award from the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI).

Submitted by Renee Gaudette on July 18, 2023