Kidney cancer research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is getting a funding boost from SAIC-Frederick with the goal of developing new treatments for renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer in adults.

UNC’s Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery (CICBDD) will receive $843,000 over 18 months from SAIC-Frederick, a Maryland cancer and AIDS research company that is a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation (NYSE:SAI).

The award to UNC is part of the National Cancer Institute’s Chemical Biology Consortium program. The grant will support research from William Janzen, director of assay development and compound profiling at the CICBDD, and Kimryn Rathmell, an associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine.

Rathmell’s laboratory recently identified an enzyme expressed in a large subset of renal cell carcinomas. Janzen said that suppressing that enzyme, Ror2, restricts the ability of renal cancer cells to grow and migrate. The project aims to develop Ror2 inhibitors that could lead to new treatments for this cancer.

“Renal cell carcinoma remains one of the most difficult cancers to manage in oncology because of its high level of primary resistance to cytotoxic chemotherapies,” Janzen said in a statement. “The disease in the metastatic setting is incurable and we are in dire need of new, effective treatment options.”

The Chemical Biology Consortium program is administered by the National Cancer Institute at Frederick, a government-owned, contract-operated federally funded research and development center. SAIC-Frederick is the contractor providing operations and technical support for NCI-Frederick.