UC Irvine researchers are seeking patients for a study of a new treatment for the most common form of kidney cancer, which is fast-moving and generally resistant to chemotherapy and radiation.
Patients who recently have been diagnosed with kidney cancer that has spread to the lungs, liver or bones, and who have not had their affected kidney removed, are eligible to participate.
The research at UCI Cancer Center will explore the use of a synthesized protein, Interleukin 2, combined with tumor-infiltrating white blood cells known as lymphocytes.
Participants will be randomly divided into two groups, those infused with the Interleukin 2-lymphocyte combination and those infused with Interleukin 2 only, a standard treatment. Patients initially have an even chance of being given the experimental treatment, UCI investigator Thomas E. Ahlering said. Those assigned to the standard treatment group, however, will be switched to the experimental treatment if Interleukin 2 alone does not work, he said.
Doctors will surgically remove participants' kidneys and tumors, isolating the lymphocytes that surround and attack the tumors. For those that receive the experimental treatment, the lymphocytes will be cultured and multiplied in test tubes, and combined with low-dose Interleukin 2.
Low-dose Interleukin 2 has been shown to enhance the activity of the lymphocytes, but its effectiveness in fighting and curing cancer has been limited. Researchers hope the addition of lymphocytes isolated from patients' tumors will provide more focused and effective therapy. UCLA pilot studies have been promising, Ahlering said, indicating that tumors go away in about one-fifth of patients infused with the experimental drug.
The duration of the response appears to be greater as well with the experimental therapy, Ahlering said.
For more information, call the UCI Clinical Cancer Center at (714) 456-8130.