Dean R. O’Neill Renal Cell Cancer Research Fund


Our Fund, the Dean R. O’Neill Renal Cell Cancer Research Fund, helps recruit the next generation of physician-scientists and clinician-investigators to The National Institutes of Health to do bold research into immune-based treatments for advanced and fatal kidney cancer in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Childs at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Rear Admiral Richard Childs, MD serves as the Clinical Director and Acting Scientific Director at the NHLBI and currently serves as an Assistant United States Surgeon General.

To date our Fund has awarded fellowships to 10 distinguished scientists.


Public-Sector Partners:

  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

Private-Sector Partners:

  • Dean R. O’Neill Renal Cell Cancer Research Fund
  • Family of Dean R. O’Neill*

*Provided financial or in-kind support for this program.

Our Fellows have contributed tremendously to the study of kidney cancer. Dr. Childs’ group initiated a novel immunotherapy trial that explores the potential of natural killer cell infusions to treat the most advanced form of kidney cancer. The team also discovered that allogeneic stem cell transplants can induce powerful immune effects against kidney cancer that in some cases can lead to sustained regression of metastatic disease. Mattias Carlsten, PhD established a cancer immunotherapy research group at the Karolinska Institutet, with a particular focus on how NK cells can be used to treat cancer. Emily Levy, PhD researched genetically modified tumor cells to investigate clinical implications of human endogenous retrovirus group E expression in clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Most recently, Stefan Barisic, MD, discovered a relic from an ancient virus that integrated into human DNA eons ago, leading to a first-in-human clinical trial for kidney cancer.


  • Support a Fellow in Dr. Richard Childs’ laboratory to explore treatments such as allogeneic stem cell transplantation, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, vaccine therapy and drug treatments.

Results & Accomplishments

In 2007, the first O’Neill Fellow made an important discovery in genetic mechanisms found in 50 percent of all kidney cancer patients. This discovery, made by Dr. Nanae Harashima and the team of doctors in Dr. Childs’ lab, has led to new treatments to stem the cancer’s spread and has given new hope for a cure. Learn more about Dr. Childs’ Research here.


FNIH Contacts

  • Please contact the Advancement Office for more information at [email protected] or 301-402-4976

To make a gift in support of the Dean R. O’Neill Cancer Research Fund, click here


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