Clinical care and research studies for kidney cancer at UCLA is facilitated through the UCLA Kidney Cancer Program. Established in 1989, it is one of the first comprehensive kidney cancer programs in the United States and has a storied history of accomplishments. The UCLA Kidney Cancer Program provides state-of-the-art care to patients with kidney cancer, in a convenient and coordinated multidisciplinary setting within the Institute of Urologic Oncology.
UCLA’s Kidney Cancer Program gets referrals from the entire region for the most challenging patients. Often care of these individuals requires specialists from multiple disciplines. Members of the Institute of Urologic Oncology’s program are housed together in the Wasserman Building where they closely collaborate on a daily basis. Having joint multi-disciplinary clinics also allow patients to have a truly comprehensive care. Our patients also benefit from a bi-monthly Tumor Board in which a group of surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists and radiologists meet to collaborate and give personalized attention to challenging cases. Additionally, our kidney surgeons have experience with targeted systemic therapy administration which gives us a unique advantage to work closely with our medical oncology team for integrated surgical/systemic therapy clinical trials.
UCLA is the one of the world leaders in molecular imaging with a rich history including seminal discoveries leading to the development of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans. The Ahmanson Translational Imaging Division is a unique clinical and translational research program designed to provide novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to disease. The Division includes the Nuclear Medicine Clinic, a clinical imaging research program, a drug and probe development program with a strong underpinning in tumor biology, and a new preclinical imaging center.
The success of the Division is based on extensive collaborations within the department of molecular and medical pharmacology and across several other departments including urology and medical oncology. Several novel molecular imaging protocols are available to our kidney cancer patients including improved methods for staging and distinguishing benign from malignant tumors.
Working with various investigators of UCLA’s Department of Pathology involved in Molecular Diagnostics, Molecular Cytogenetics, and Anatomic Pathology, we provide every patient a detailed analysis of his/her tumor samples to aid in subtyping and personalized prognostication. For rare and complicated cases, our program has become a referral center for outside centers to send complicated kidney cancer slides for expert opinion. We work closely with companies that perform genomic profiling to offer every patient the most up to date precision-medicine approaches to identify eligible candidates for participation in novel therapeutic trials.
About 5-10% of kidney cancer is believed to have a strong genetic or hereditary component. A strong genetic component is considered when individuals have a strong family history of kidney cancer, there is early (young) age of onset, there are other personal/family history of other cancers, or the patient has bilateral or multifocal renal tumors. There are now a dozen syndromes associated with a hereditary predisposition to renal cell carcinoma. UCLA’s Hereditary Kidney Cancer Program focuses on investigation into the potential genetic causes of an individual’s kidney cancer.
This multidisciplinary program offers a novel method of testing multiple kidney cancer genes at once as well as access to a genetic counselor to help interpret results and provide counseling. Patients with early onset kidney cancer not believed to have a hereditary component also may have a strong genetic cause of their cancer and our program offers diagnostic testing (Immunohistochemistry, FISH and cytogenetics) to assist in the characterization of these tumors. The Kidney Cancer Program leaders have specific expertise in these cancer syndromes and closely collaborate with other hereditary cancer specialists throughout the UCLA Medical Center to provide patients with the most up-to-date management strategies as well as comprehensive care coordination.