2017 Kidney Cancer Program Annual Event hosted hundreds

The 2017 UT Southwestern Kidney Cancer Program Annual Event took place on September 24th. The program had some changes to it this year, including the location. To improve capacity for guests and have an event space that overlooked the Dallas skyline, the event was held on the 14th floor of the T. Boone Pickens Biomedical Building. More than 200 guests and faculty were in attendance.

Dr. Jim Brugarolas started Kidney Cancer Program (KCP) at UT Southwestern in 2013. The innovative program was founded on curing kidney cancer but also providing a place where patients feel cared for and comfortable. In 2016, just three years after its start, the KCP received a prestigious Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) award from the National Cancer Institute, just one of two programs in the country to have it.

“The event is very meaningful to me. I view the Kidney Cancer Program not just as a group of physicians and scientists at UT Southwestern, but rather, as a community,” stated Dr. Jim Brugarolas, Director of the UT Southwestern Kidney Cancer Program. “It is an opportunity for our patients and their families to interact with the UT Southwestern faculty in a formal setting. My vision is for Dallas to become the destination for global kidney cancer care.”

Dr. Carlos Arteaga, Director of Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center spoke at the program just weeks after his arrival to UT Southwestern from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

“To me, the example of the Kidney Cancer Program makes it possible for the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center to become over the next five years one of the top institutions conducting translational cancer medicine, not only in Texas but in the whole country,” said Dr. Arteaga. “Today we are celebrating all of the success with the Kidney Cancer Program, but also remembering all of the lives it’s touched and renewing the commitment to make a difference.”

The Kidney Cancer Program was honored to have UT Southwestern’s Dr. Bruce Beutler, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for his research in immunotherapy, as the keynote speaker.

“The KCP is very strong … a program already in the lead and widening the gap. The Annual Event was both enjoyable and illuminating,” commented Dr. Beutler.

Dr. Beutler discussed how the body’s immune defenses may be used to attack kidney and other cancers.

“It was a pleasure to talk to the patients and their families, and give my perspective on immunotherapy and its potential,” Dr. Beutler said.

Other speakers included Dr. Jeffrey Gahan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Urology, who discussed strategies to preserve kidney function during surgery, and Dr. Zabi Wardak, a Stereotactic Radiosurgery Specialist, who talked about new approaches for the treatment of brain metastases.

A multidisciplinary case presentation was given by Drs. Solomon Woldu, Vitaly Margulis, Hans Hammers, Raquibul Hannan, Payal Kapur, and Ivan Pedrosa. The group discussed the case of a man who had stage IV metastatic kidney cancer and saw success in his treatment while participating in the RADVAX clinical trial. Read Larry Carlson’s story.

In years prior, the KCP Annual Event had a large Q&A session with faculty and guests. Given the high level of interest in past Q&A events, Dr. Brugarolas wanted to extend the opportunities for guests to have more time to ask specific questions by creating breakout Q&A sessions around five separate topics. Guests went to separate rooms and were able to talk to the doctors in a more intimate setting.

The following were topics that were discussed:

  • Conditions predisposing to kidney cancer – Dr. Aditya Bagrodia
  • Small kidney tumors – Dr. Jeffery Cadeddu and Dr. Jeffrey Gahan
  • Surgery for advanced kidney cancer – Dr. Vitaly Margulis
  • Radiation for kidney cancer – Dr. Raquibul Hannan
  • Treatment for metastatic kidney cancer – Dr. Jim Brugarolas and Dr. Hans Hammers

The program finished with a beautiful reception providing hors-d’oeuvres and beverages.

2017 Kidney Cancer Program Annual Event hosted hundreds