Why Choose the BIDMC Cancer Center for Kidney Tumor Care?

The Kidney Tumor Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a world leader in kidney tumor treatment and research. We offer a full spectrum of medical, surgical and supportive care for patients with cancerous or non-cancerous kidney tumors.

Lead Site for Treatment and Clinical Trials

David McDermott

A founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, BIDMC is the lead site for the DF/HCC Kidney Cancer Program and clinical trials. BIDMC offers access to the most advanced and promising therapies for kidney cancer through our immunotherapy (biologics) program, clinical trials, and novel surgical and non-invasive treatments.

Research Expertise 

BIDMC is home to the largest grant from the United States government for kidney cancer research. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) initially awarded BIDMC and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center the nation’s only SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) grant for kidney cancer research in 2003.The grant was renewed for a second time in 2015 with $11.2 million in funding over a five year period, under the direction of Dr. David McDermott (above right), medical director of our Kidney Tumor Program, along with Dr. William G. Kaelin, Jr., of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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, our physician-scientists have achieved research breakthroughs, introducing new drugs and drug combinations to extend survival and improve quality of life.  

Watch Dr. McDermott as he discusses the recent resurgence of interest in kidney cancer translational research and novel therapies.

The BIDMC Difference

The Kidney Tumor Program at BIDMC offers you and your family a number of significant benefits.

Multidisciplinary Approach

We are one of the few multidisciplinary kidney cancer centers in the northeast, which means that you are evaluated and treated not by just one doctor, but rather by an entire team of kidney cancer experts from many different fields. Our integrated approach to evaluation and treatment enhances diagnostic accuracy and gives you the broadest range of treatment alternatives.

You will experience this difference beginning with your initial visit, when you will be seen by both a kidney surgeon and a medical oncologist on the same day. We may then recommend further testing, imaging (MRI, CT, or X-ray), biopsy, surgery or medical treatments, depending on your individual needs. Your case will be followed and discussed by a wide range of experts in our weekly multidisciplinary conference.

Expertise and Depth

Very few institutions offer our unusual concentration of kidney specialists — four renowned medical oncologists and fellowship-trained surgeons, among others — who have been drawn to BIDMC because of our leadership in the field of kidney cancer research.

Advanced Surgical Techniques

BIDMC is at the vanguard of minimally invasive surgical care and research for both small and large kidney tumors. Highly skilled, fellowship-trained surgeons are experts in laparoscopic, robot-assisted, single-incision laparoscopic surgery and other state-of-the-art procedures. With these techniques, there is less pain and a shorter recovery, so you can begin drug therapy more quickly if needed, within weeks instead of months.

High Volume Practice

Because we perform a large volume of kidney tumor surgeries — 100 to 150 kidney cases annually — we are especially skilled at removing tumors laparoscopically, even very large tumors that are starting to invade surrounding structures. Studies show that surgical teams who routinely perform a sufficient number of cases achieve better results. Most of our surgery, even for complicated cases, is minimally invasive.

Novel Non-Surgical Treatments

For small kidney tumors, the Cancer Center offers two innovative non-surgical treatments that do not require hospitalization. In percutaneous ablation, doctors place a probe through the skin and into the tumor to freeze it (cryoablation) or burn it (radiofrequency ablation). In CyberKnife radiosurgery, a form of radiation oncology, superior targeting accuracy is achieved by sending pencil-thin beams into the tumor, thus sparing surrounding tissue.

Promising New Medical Treatments

Clinical trials have led to unprecedented progress in kidney cancer treatment with new drugs that help prolong survival and improve quality of life. 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.