Treatment of kidney cancer has seen many revolutionary changes over the last few decades. Now with many varieties of the disease uncovered, doctors have more options than just surgery to help their patients. Dr. W. Marston Linehan, chief of the Urologic Oncology Branch at the National Cancer Institute of NIH, discovered six different causes of the illness. He’s a finalist for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal for his work. Linehan told Government Matters that so much has been learned since he started his research.
“We now know of 17 different genes that cause kidney cancer and understanding those genes is critical for how you manage the patient,” Linehan said. “If you have a certain gene mutated or damaged in the cancer, it is telling scientists and doctors that it is an indolent cancer, and another gene is telling you that you have an aggressive cancer and you have to get on that now.”