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On Cancer: Physicians and Scientists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Pioneer the Development of Kidney Cancer Treatments

By Allyson Collins, MS, Science Writer/Editor  |  Wednesday, May 8, 2013

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.”

Comments

A dear friend is suffering from renal cell carcinoma that has metatetasized to his pulmonary vein - he has been on Sutent, on Gemzad(?) and back on Sutent - what is his prognosis?

Rowshan, we are not able to answer personal medical questions on our blog. If your friend would like to make an appointment to speak with a doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, he can call 800-525-2225 or go to http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/appointment. Thank you for your comment.

Thank you Dr. Motzer and your team for doing great research to eradicate this deadly disease. In 2005 I was diagnosed wih 4th stage RCC. After a successful surgery with Dr. Russo, it was determined that my RCC had metastasized in my body. I went throug a clinical trial for about a year with Dr. Motzer. I have been cancer free since then. My family and I owe this second chance to life to you and your teams’ excellent efforts. God Bless you all. Keep up the good work. Thank you once again.

A relative on mine was diagnosed with RCC stage 1. She is 84 years old.
What treatment will be best for her to go for?
Should non-invasive methods be preferred to a surgery?
Thank you.

Leah, we are not able to answer individual medical questions on our blog. If your relative would like to make an appointment to speak with a Memorial Sloan-Kettering doctor, please call 800-525-2225 during regular business hours or go to http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/appointment for more information. Thank you for your comment.

MY NEPHEW AGE 32 HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH COLLECTING DUCT CA THAT STARTED IN HIS KIDNEY HOWEVER, THE DOCTOR WHO IS TREATING HIM SAYS THAT IT IS NOT KIDNEY CANCER. HE HAS METS TO HIS LIVER. LUNG. LYMPH NODES AND HIS LRV. HE HAS BEEN RECOMENDED TO YOUR FACILITY TO START TRIAL IN 2 MONTHS. HE HAS BEEN GETTING CHEMO NOW FOR FOUR MONTHS. WHAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND IS IF IT STARTED IN THE KIDNEY WHY IS IT NOT KIDNEY CANCER. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP THIS HAS BEEN ON MY MIND SINCE HIS DIAGNOSIS.

Kathy, we are not able to answer personal medical questions on our blog. If your nephew would like more information about his disease, we recommend he discuss this with his MSKCC doctor. If you would like to speak to someone about kidney cancer, we recommend you call the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service at 800-4CANCER. Thank you for your comment.

I have chromophobe kidney cancer with methastasis in the bones. I have an appointment in June 10 with Dr. James Hsich. I want to be part of a clinical trial because is a rare type of cance and all I seen in Mexico is targeted to clear cells type of cancer. At this moment I have no treatment I feel well but my concern is not having treatment one month before the appointment. And the other question is if at this moment you have clinical trials related with chromophobe kidney cancer

Alberto, we suggest you contact Memorial Sloan Kettering’s International Center by calling 1-212-639-4900 or going to the website. (http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/international-patients). They can speak with you if you are interested in coming to Memorial Sloan-Kettering or having your records reviewed by Memorial Sloan Kettering physicians. They also can send you a list of international affiliates (including centers in Mexico) that might offer clinical trials for your type of kidney cancer. Thank you for your comment.

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