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What Projects Your Money Will Help Fund This Year 2020

1. Kidney Cancer Research Scholarships

This will be the third year of offering these summer research fellowships.  Because of the success we’ve had over the past two years, we had 12 medical students apply from both the U of Minnesota and even one coming from out of state.  With your help we hope to hire all 12 for kidney cancer research.  These scholarships will be used to attract some of the best and brightest minds from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine to spend the summer carrying out kidney cancer research.  We hope to inspire these students to choose a career where they can help kidney cancer patients.  Funds will be used to provide a modest stipend, additional funds will be used for equipment necessary to carry out their research, computers, statistical and IT support and funds to present their findings at national and international meetings such as the American Urological Association Annual meeting and the GUASCO cancer symposium. Meet the 2020 scholars. Meet the 2019 scholars. Meet the 2018 scholars.

2. Kidney Cancer Deep Learning Research Project

This project aims to use CT scan images in patients with kidney tumors, combined with clinical data to automate the detection of kidney tumors and predict patient relevant outcomes.  This cutting edge research uses a technique known as Deep Learning and has shown promise in medical imaging.  With your help, we hope to create the world’s largest imaging archive of annotated kidney tumors on CT scans with detailed clinical data.  It will be called the Climb 4 Kidney Cancer or C4KC Kidney Tumor Database hosted on The Cancer Imaging Archive.  In 2019, we hosted an international contest to stimulate collaborative kidney cancer research and allow  scientists from around the world to create algorithms that can automatically find a kidney and a kidney tumor.  Over 800 teams joined the challenge and 106 teams submitted predictions.  The winning teams can be seen on our page.  A team from Germany led by Fabian Isensee won.  We (and the top 5 teams) presented our findings at the MICCAI conference in Shenzhen, China October, 2019.  See the challenge at KiTS grand challenge to learn more.  We have been invited to host another challenge in 2021 and hope to build on past efforts.

Our challenge helped to coordinate around 20,000 hours of kidney cancer research all around the world!

Our team was recognized as the top challenge attracting the highest number of participants for a 3D segmentation challenge ever, and having the most submissions ever to a challenge!  Your donations led to the coordination of 20,000+ hours of kidney cancer research!  Our research was also honored as the top paper in the imaging section of the EAU annual meeting in Barcelona, Spain 2019.

Listen to Dr. Weight being interviewed for BJU International about artificial intelligence, based on the research funded by your generous donations to Climb 4 Kidney Cancer by Clicking Here.
2. 3D Printed Kidney Cancer Models for Surgical Planning and Education

We created one of the world’s first 3D printed kidney tumor model for simulated kidney cancer surgery on the Da Vinci Robot.  We developed a realistic kidney model with a tumor and 10 surgeons performed a simulated Kidney Cancer surgery.  When we develop this technology to be high fidelity and patient specific we can create a realistic model that the surgeon could practice the surgery prior to doing the real one.

We also performed strawberry seed art at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair
3D Printed Kidney with Tumor from CT Scan for Surgical Simulation U of Minnesota 2019
Why Donate?
Kidney Cancer and Lack of Funding

Kidney Cancer is severely underfunded compared to other cancers.  For example in 2012, the National Institute of Health (NIH) funded 1600 more research projects and awarded over 550 million dollars for breast cancer research than for kidney cancer research (click here to see NIH funding amounts by cancer type).  Prostate cancer researchers were given 215 million more dollars and there were over 700 funded research projects.  Even when you take into consideration the higher incidence of these cancers, breast and prostate cancer researchers are getting 2-4 times the amount of funding per incident case.  All this while kidney cancer remains nearly twice as deadly as prostate cancer and 20% more deadly than breast cancer.  See the graphic below showing that the NIH pays out over $15,100 in research funding for each woman that dies of Breast Cancer while only paying out ~$3600 per death from kidney cancer.  We don’t want to take from other cancers, we just want to bring kidney cancer to the same levels per incident case as Breast, Prostate, Lung or Colon cancer.

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Past Projects Your Donations have helped to fund:

Automated Kidney Cancer Detection

We teamed up with computer scientists to create convoluted neural networks sometimes called machine learning or artificial intelligence to try and teach a computer to recognize a kidney and kidney tumor on CT imaging.  Though this project we hope to assure that kidney tumors are never missed and hope to improve on cancer predictions and outcomes in patients with renal tumors.

Gene Therapy

We need funding for a clinical trial of an exciting new gene therapy that has shown surprising success in a mouse model.  This therapy has been shown to be safe in a phase 1 human model and the next step is to try it on a limited number of patients with kidney cancer.

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Kidney Cancer Patient Education Tools

We have been working on a patient education application for patients with kidney cancer to be used on a tablet or phone.  This can replace hard to interpret doctors’ drawings, fuzzy ultrasounds etc with images of kidneys and tumors corresponding with patient’s tumors that they can manipulate and understand the anatomy of the kidney and the cancer and understand the potential complications of treatment.  Here is a mock up of several possibilities, but we currently lack funding to finish the project.

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How to Help

Donate directly today. Your your donation will be made to Team8. Climb 4 Kidney Cancer is a division of Team8, a 501-c non-profit dedicated to raising money for kidney cancer research. Learn more about us.

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Start a crowdfunding page and get pledges for a penny a stair $25.36 for the Piggy Bank, $60.54 for the Big Bank.  It is easy to do and in a matter of minutes, you can add a picture, tell your story, set a goal and make a long term difference in the battle against kidney cancer.

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Spread the word through social media, email, word of mouth (Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @climb4kc)

Contact us for other ways to donate to these important projects at hello@climb4kc.org