Kharasch, vice chancellor for research at Washington University, the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Professor of Anesthesiology and director of the Division of Clinical and Translational Research in the Department of Anesthesiology, has been working with lead author Morrissey, a research professor of anesthesiology, to detect kidney cancer at an earlier stage.
"When patients come to surgery, it tends to be late in the process, and many already have progressed to a stage where the prognosis is pretty bleak," says Morrissey. "Screening patients to find kidney cancer when it is still small and treatable could save a number of lives and preserve kidney function in many people. It also may represent the difference between losing an entire kidney or extracting only a tumor while sparing healthy portions of the organ."
About 50,000 patients are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year. And about 13,000 people die from the disease annually in the United States alone. A test that could lead to earlier diagnosis could make a big dent in those numbers, according to Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, director of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.
"One of the goals of the Siteman Cancer Center is to diagnose tumors as early as possible, when they are more curable," Eberlein says. "Most kidney tumors are found in more advanced stages, when the patient is symptomatic and less likely to be cured. These new findings open the door for a quick, noninvasive test and could revolutionize our approach to the early, accurate diagnosis of kidney cancer."
Morrissey says further testing will be required to determine whether people with other types of kidney disease also have high
|Contact: Jim Dryden|
Washington University School of Medicine