Memorial Sloan-Kettering physicians and scientists are pioneering the development of targeted therapies for kidney cancer. In fact, our experts have participated in or led the development of five of the seven drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for patients with advanced kidney cancer since 2005.
“My work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering over more than 25 years has been to develop a clinical trials program for patients with advanced kidney cancer,” says medical oncologist Robert J. Motzer. “I’ve led more than 50 clinical trials for patients with this disease.”
Delivering Targeted Therapies in Sequence
When patients participating in clinical trials come to their appointments at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, they meet with a doctor as well as a clinical research nurse, such as Patricia Fischer or Suzanne Gornell.
“Part of my job is seeing patients in clinic and finding out how they are doing on the treatments we’re administering,” Ms. Fischer explains.
Patients with advanced kidney cancer often receive these targeted drug therapies, taken by mouth, in sequence. They may take one drug for a particular amount of time, and then another, followed by a different drug.
“Over time, many patients benefit dramatically with the full sequence of medications,” Dr. Motzer says.
“The goal is to try to personalize everyone’s care,” says physician-scientist James Hsieh. “Everyone who works here, it’s in our DNA to want to make a difference and help our patients. To fight against cancer is our top priority.”
The Experiences of Our Patients
Daryl Palmer, a pediatrician, had a dramatic response to targeted therapy as part of a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
“I got to the end of the clinical trial, and I was doing well – my tumors all responded,” Dr. Palmer says. She was able to have experiences with her family she never imagined were possible. “I got to go on vacation, and I have had five or six Christmases.”
Bill Cirelli, former police officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, also received a sequence of targeted therapies on clinical trials. “Bill is currently disease-free following treatment with these targeted therapies and surgery,” Dr. Motzer explains.
“Life has changed completely. I’m healthy, I feel good,” Mr. Cirelli says. “Memorial Sloan-Kettering is my heaven.”