Kidney Cancer Program
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a world-class leader in kidney cancer treatment and research. Among the first in New England to offer a multidisciplinary team dedicated to kidney cancer, BIDMC is:
- The lead site for the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) kidney cancer program
- The lead recipient of the prestigious National Cancer Institute-funded kidney cancer SPORE grant.
- For an overview of kidney cancer, and information on current medical therapy, new surgical techniques, future treatments, how to be a more informed patient, and other topics, please watch our video presentations.
A founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, BIDMC is DF/HCC's lead site for kidney cancer clinical trials and treatment. BIDMC offers access to the most advanced and promising therapies for kidney cancer through the Biologic Therapy Program clinical trials, research breakthroughs, and novel surgical and non-invasive treatments.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded BIDMC and DF/HCC an $11.5 million, five-year SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) grant, which is under the direction of Dr. David McDermott. This prestigious award is the only NCI-funded SPORE in the country focused on cancers of the kidney. This grant renews the previous kidney cancer SPORE that BIDMC received in 2003.
SPORE grants promote collaboration among researchers and physicians, and help move scientific discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside as quickly as possible. With SPORE funding, we have achieved research breakthroughs, introducing new drugs and drug combinations to extend survival and improve quality of life. This SPORE grant allows us to continue our international leadership in kidney cancer care, offering treatments and procedures not readily available elsewhere.
The BIDMC Difference
BIDMC offers you and your family a number of significant benefits, including:
We are one of the only multidisciplinary kidney cancer centers in the Northeast. Our unique approach means that you see not just one doctor, but rather an entire team of kidney cancer specialists. Experts in their respective fields, the team includes medical oncologists, kidney surgeons, radiation oncologists, nurse and nurse practitioner specialists, radiologists, pathologists, social workers and psychiatrists. Often, you see several specialists in one appointment, for convenience and ease. These specialists are available to one another for immediate consultation about your care. Also, in weekly meetings, our team collaborates to discuss your particular cancer and the best treatment options for you. This integrated approach to evaluation and treatment enhances diagnostic accuracy and gives you the broadest range of treatment alternatives.
Collection of Experts
We offer an unusual concentration of kidney specialists - four renowned medical oncologists and fellowship-trained surgeons, among others - who are drawn to BIDMC because of our leadership in the field of kidney cancer research. With SPORE funding, our team continues to make novel treatment and research breakthroughs in kidney cancer, advancing the field in Boston and around the world. Very few places, if any, have such a high concentration of kidney experts, providing you with the widest and most updated array of treatment options.
Advanced Surgical Technique
BIDMC is at the vanguard of minimally invasive surgical care and research for kidney cancer. Highly skilled, fellowship-trained surgeons are experts in laparoscopic, robot-assisted, single-incision laparoscopic surgery, and other state-of-the-art procedures. We offer laparoscopic surgery for the vast majority of kidney tumors, removing the tumor and either the entire kidney (radical nephrectomy) or just part of the kidney (partial nephrectomy). In the past, kidney surgery required a long incision and hospitalization, and months of recovery, which could delay the start of lifesaving drugs to help prevent cancer recurrence. With laparoscopic and robotic kidney surgery, there is less pain and a shorter recovery, so you can begin drug therapy more quickly if needed (within weeks instead of months), to reduce the chance for cancer spread.
High Volume Expertise
The breadth and volume of kidney surgery at BIDMC is second to none. We perform some 100 to 150 kidney-cancer surgeries annually, and most of our surgery, even for complicated cases, is minimally invasive. Studies show that surgical teams with experience - that is, routinely performing a sufficient number of cases - achieve better results. Because we see a large volume of advanced kidney cancers, we are especially skilled at removing large tumors laparoscopically, even very large tumors that are starting to invade surrounding structures.
Novel Non-Surgical Treatments
BIDMC offers innovative non-surgical treatments for small kidney tumors. Percutaneous ablation and CyberKnife radiotherapy do not require hospitalization. With percutaneous ablation, doctors place a probe through the skin and into the tumor to freeze it (cryoablation) or burn it (radiofrequency ablation). CyberKnife is the newest technology to remove tumors without anesthesia or surgery. BIDMC was the first center in New England to treat kidney tumors using the CyberKnife robotic stereotactic radiosurgery system. CyberKnife offers superior targeting accuracy, sending pencil-thin beams into the tumor, while sparing the rest of the kidney and surrounding organs.
Promising New Medical Treatments
Clinical trials (research studies to investigate new therapies and procedures) have led to unprecedented progress in kidney cancer treatment, with new drugs that help prolong survival and improve quality of life. These drugs include novel immunotherapies, tumor vaccines and targeted therapies. Immunotherapy (also called biological therapy) uses medications to increase the body's natural ability to fight cancer. Cancer vaccines, a form of biological therapy, stimulate the growth of cancer-fighting cells in the immune system. Targeted therapies attack specific aspects of the cancerous tumor, or the blood supply that feeds the tumor.
An important part of what makes our program so special is the way we care for you and your family. We respect the dignity, values, needs and opinions of each patient we are privileged to treat. We treat you and your family in the same way we would like to be treated: with respect, kindness, compassion and patience.
For More Information
For more information about the Kidney Tumor Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, or to make an appointment, please call 617-632-9250.