Patient education and Resources about Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy does with in stage 4 kidney cancer and we are looking at long term survivors, surviving beyond 5 years.
In kidney cancer care, different types of doctors often work together to create a patient’s overall treatment plan that combines different types of treatments. This is called a Tumor Board. For kidney cancer, the health care team usually includes these individuals:-
Urological oncologist: Person who specializes in treating cancers of urinary tract.
Medical oncologist: A doctor who specializes in treating urinary tract cancer with systemic therapy.
Radiation oncologist: Who gives radiation to localized site.
Kidneys play a vital role in removing unwanted materials and toxins from our body, keeping it free from infections in the long run.
Kidney cancer can have dramatic effects on the body, impairing the basic functioning of our two bean shaped organs.
In adults, the most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma. Apart from this, adults can be predisposed to other less common kidney cancer types too. Young children, on the other hand, can develop Wilms tumor as a fatal form of kidney cancer.
Incidents of kidney cancer were not alarmingly a case of worry in the previous times. However, they seem to be increasing dramatically from the last few years.
How is Immunotherapy for Kidney Cancer Changing the Outlook for Patients?
Stage 3 and stage 4 kidney cancers are hard to treat and are very aggressive and prognosis has been poor. Chemotherapy does not work for kidney cancer. For many years we have been trying to improve survival with different methods and protocols like cytokines, interferon alpha but have not succeeded in prolonging survival. But now ray of hope has come and we can see more and more patients survive longer with the advent of immunotherapy and other strategies especially in patients who failed standard therapy. Below we present our research work showing immunotherapy patients do survive longer .Not only that immunotherapy has very less side effects and is tolerated very well. For some patients it works so well that they survive 5 years and beyond.
Does immunotherapy work in stage 4 kidney cancer?
Yes it does but patient selection is very important. As we know immunotherapy does not work for everybody. We need to find and look for predictive and prognostic biomarkers. Before starting treatment one should know what survival advantage it will offer. Detailed discussion with medical oncologist in necessary.
Very good response from immunotherapy in stage 4 kidney cancer
What are the side effects of Immunotherapy?
As compared to chemotherapy there are very less adverse events we see with the use of Immunotherapy. But side effects are there. As immunotherapy activates the immune system and this activated immune system can attack every organ of body although the incidence of such side effects is very rare, less than 5%.
Newer therapies for kidney cancer
What is new in treatment of kidney cancer?
If early stage, surgical resection remains the standard of care. But if metastatic –Stage 4, prognosis has been poor. Now with newer combinations e.g, immunotherapy and targeted therapy patients live longer and some patients survive for years. But one should know immunotherapy is not magic and eventually all patients will progress at some point of time, but yes patient gets good quality of life and live longer. Earlier such patients had poor survival of few months to couple of years. Cost remains an issue but with coming times generic immunotherapy drugs will come in market.
What is the success rate of Immunotherapy?
In stage 4 kidney cancer Immunotherapy is very efficacious. Immunotherapy helps bodys own immune system to fight cancer. More research is going on and we have started using combination of immunotherapy and other drugs that is showing promise with good results. Now we are seeing patients who are disease free on immunotherapy for 5 years that was never seen before
Dr. Waseem Abbas
Director research @MAX institute of cancer care.
Senior consultant medical and Hemato-oncology @MAX cance centre shalimarbagh.
Clinical lead in Medical oncology from MAX cancer centre shalimarbagh.
This has encouraged dr Abbas to dedicate himself to research in the field of immunotherapy. He has treated so far 500 patients with immunotherapy and has published research in International and National journals. Apart from that dr Abbas has done some breakthrough research in this field. Dr abbas have dedicated his life to immunotherapy research and are the pioneer of immunotherapy in India.