The kidneys are two bean shaped organs located above the waist on either side of the spine. Although humans have two, only part of one is necessary for correct function. The main function of the kidneys is to filter blood and remove salt, water and waste from the body1. Every day the kidneys filter about 200 quarts of blood to generate 2 quarts of urine. The kidneys also produce hormones that help to control blood pressure and red blood cell production2,3.
Kidney cancer begins when healthy cells in one or both kidneys begin to grow out of control and form a mass called a renal cortical tumor. Renal tumors account for 3-4% of all malignant tumors in adults, and 80-90% of these are renal cell carcinomas4. There are several types of kidney cancers: renal cell carcinomas(RCC), urothelial carcinoma, sarcoma, and Wilms tumor. RCCs are the most common type of adult kidney cancer and develop in the proximal renal tubules that make up the filtration system. Urothelial carcinoma, or transitional cell carcinoma, account for 10-15% of kidney cancers in adults and develops in the renal pelvis, where the urine collects before moving to the bladder. Sarcoma of the kidney is quite rare and develops in the soft tissue of the kidney. Wilms tumor is most common in children and is treated differently from kidney cancer in adults2.
There are several types of RCC based on the types of cancer cells making up the tumor. Clear cell renal carcinomas are the most common (~70%) and when seen under a microscope, the cells look very pale or clear. The second most common (~10%) type is papillary renal cell carcinoma and they form little finger-like projections in some or most of the tumor. Chromophobe renal cell carcinoma makes up about 5% of RCCs and the cells have recognizable features under the microscope. There are also several rare and unclassified types of RCCs that do not fit into any other subset of RCCs2,3. While the exact cause of kidney cancer is not known, there are several factors that increase the risk of kidney cancer, such as age, gender, obesity, high blood pressure, dialysis, tobacco use, occupational exposure and genetics, either family history or inherited genetic syndromes.
Kidney cancer is diagnosed with a series of biopsy, laboratory tests and CT scans in order to determine the cancer and cell type involved which in turn determines the treatment course5. Chemotherapy has not been found to be very effective against advanced kidney cancer so research into the causes, detection, diagnosis and treatment of kidney cancer is currently being done at many research institutes across the nation3. Scientist and doctors are studying several genes that play a role in changing normal kidney cells into RCCs as well as investigating various therapies including targeted drugs before and after surgery as well as immunotherapy. Bethyl manufactures many antibodies to proteins involved in all types of kidney cancer that may aid in advancing breakthroughs in all aspects of kidney cancer research.
Below is the current list of Bethyl antibodies involved in kidney cancer research: