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UCLA Institute of Urologic Oncology


Kidney Cancer

Surgical Director:    Arie Belldegrun, MD, FACS                                                                                  

Medical Director:     Fairooz Kabbinavar, MD


According to the American Cancer Society, about 64,770 people in the United States will be diagnosed with kidney cancer (medical name: renal cell carcinoma) (40,250 Male and 24,520 Female) in 2012 and about 13,570 people will die from this disease (8,650 Male and 4,920 Female).  But there is hope: According to the Kidney Cancer Association there are more than 200,000 kidney cancer survivors living in the United States right now. Recent advances in diagnosis, surgical procedures, and treatment options will allow even more patients to live with the disease, continuing to maintain their normal schedules and lifestyles.

Within the IUO is UCLA's Kidney Cancer Program, a world-renowned program, dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care and treatment, research, training and education of kidney cancer, and related diseases for the past 19 years.  The UCLA Kidney Cancer Program has utilized the team approach for treating kidney cancer that includes urologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologist, radiologists and clinical trial nurses that allow for specialized and personalized perspectives in deciding upon the best option for each individual patient.

The UCLA Kidney Cancer Program prides itself on the achievements made in its state-of-the-art research and translational laboratory.  Its highly experienced and dedicated researches work tirelessly to develop new, more effective treatments for kidney cancer and have pioneered numerous medical advances.

Highlights: Research & Achievements at UCLA Kidney Cancer Program

  • Development of adoptive TIL therapy for patients with advanced kidney cancer; cell expansion and preparation done by UCLA research scientists. (Supported by a special NIH contract)
  • Discovery of the importance and utility of CAIX, a novel kidney cancer gene, for use in diagnosis, vaccine therapy, and selection of patients for clinical trials.  (UCLA Patent filed.)
  • Construction of a novel hybrid-fusion molecule, CAIX-GM-CSF, for use as a new vaccine and gene therapy for kidney cancer. (Published twice in Clinical Cancer Research.)
  • Development of an experimental kidney cancer tumor model, LABAZ 1 & 2, in the laboratory for pre-clinical testing. (Recently featured on the cover of the Cancer Research Journal.)
  • Creation of the UCLA integrated staging system (UISS) for patients with renal cell carcinoma, a clinical tool that can accurately define an individual patient's probability of survival. (Validated and published in Journal of Clinical Oncology).
  • Dr. Arie Belldegrun was one of the leaders in developing a new approach to treating metastatic kidney cancer by combining biologic and cellular therapies to extend remission times.  Drs. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, Jorge Barrio, Simon Cherry, Harvey Herschman, Michael Phelps and Nagichettiar Satyamurthy were the first to develop a novel technology that essentially renders the body transparent and allows physicians to determine whether gene therapies reach targeted cells and work as they should.  Using a specially designed "reporter" gene and positron emission tomography (PET) scanners to establish pictures of gene therapies at work in the body, UCLA researchers test the tracking system in prostate cancer patients and work with researchers at other institutions to help them evaluate other gene therapy studies for cancer patients.



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