Scientific Advisory Board

The KCCure Kidney Cancer Scientific Advisory Board is a national board made up of the world’s leading specialists, researchers and scientists dedicated to finding a cure for kidney cancer.

Cristiane Decat Bergerot, Ph.D., is a psychologist from Brazil with expertise in Health Psychology and Behavioral Science. She has been working with cancer patients for almost 15 years as a clinician and as a researcher. Over this period she had the opportunity to implement a biopsychosocial screening program at her parent institution.  She has also published several datasets that focus on biopsychosocial distress and sources of distress in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma. She is also a pioneer in the emerging field of psychogenomics, correlating genomic findings with psychological status. She is currently doing an extended postdoctoral fellowship at City of Hope in the Genitourinary Department.

James Brugarolas, MD, Ph.D, is Director of the UT Southwestern Kidney Cancer Program, one of only a few of its kind in the United States, and Principal Investigator of the National Cancer Institute Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) award at UT Southwestern. In addition, to caring for patients, Dr. Brugarolas leads a busy research laboratory, where scientists are making promising advances in the understanding of how kidney cancer develops – and working to translate their discoveries into new therapies that target the disease’s molecular pathways.

Ithaar Derweesh, MD, is a board-certified urologist who subspecializes in urologic tumors and malignancies. He leads the surgical arm of UC San Diego Health’s multidisciplinary program for management of kidney cancer. Dr. Derweesh has established one of the highest volume kidney cancer surgical programs in North America. He is one of the world’s leading experts for partial nephrectomy for large renal masses, use of minimally invasive surgery in setting of locally advanced disease, and the use of targeted medication to enable kidney preserving treatments in settings where such treatment was not possible.

Charles Drake, MD, PhD, is the director of genitourinary oncology and associate director for clinical research at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center for NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). A nationally recognized expert in immunotherapy, Professor Drake also serves as co-director of Columbia’s Cancer Immunotherapy Programs and on the faculty of CUMC.

Daniel George, MD, is a medical oncologist at Duke Cancer Center, specializing in the care of patients with urologic cancers, mainly, kidney cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer and testicular cancer. He oversees a large clinical research team at Duke focused on developing therapy and improving care and outcomes for patients with urologic cancers. His work involves both interventional trials with new and emerging therapies as well as diagnostic tests and markers of cancer biology, response and outcome. He has a particular interest in immuno-oncology agents as well as targeted therapy.

John L. Gore, MD, MS, FACS, is a urologic oncologist and health services researcher. Dr. Gore received his MD from Baylor College of Medicine following which he completed his urology training at UCLA. He then received his health services research training as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at UCLA. Dr. Gore is currently an Associate Professor in Urology, Adjunct Associate Professor in Surgery at the University of Washington, and Affiliate Investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. He is the Surgical Director of the Kidney Cancer Program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. He is pursuing a translational health services and patient-centered outcomes research program toward improving access to care, quality of life, and quality of care for urologic cancers.

Elizabeth Petri Henske, MD, runs the Henske Lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.  She is best known for her groundbreaking discovery that mutations in the TSC2 gene cause the sporadic form of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM).  This provided the foundation for pivotal clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors for the treatment of LAM.   Her laboratory has also discovered that autophagy plays a critical role in the pathogenesis and therapy of LAM, leading to an ongoing clinical trial called the “SAIL” trial:  Sirolimus and Autophagy Inhibition in LAM.

Thomas E. Hutson, DO, PharmD, FACP, is the director of the Urologic Oncology Program and Co-Chair of the Urologic Cancer Research and Treatment Center at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas; and is a Professor of Medicine at Texas A&M College of Medicine. Thomas received his Bachelor’ and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from Ohio Northern University; and his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Ohio University. He completed residency in Internal Medicine, followed by fellowships in Medical Oncology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Cleveland Clinic.

Eric Jonasch, MD, is a Professor in the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Dr. Jonasch is director of the VHL Clinical Center and co-Director of the MD Anderson Kidney Cancer Research Program, and is involved in tissue-based translational research in renal cell carcinoma and VHL disease. He heads a number of investigator-initiated clinical trials, and is in charge on an ongoing laboratory research effort evaluating the determinants of response and resistance to targeted therapies in renal cell carcinoma and VHL disease.

David McDermott, MD, is Director of the Biologic Therapy and Cutaneous Oncology Programs, Hematology/Oncology, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. McDermott is the leader of the Kidney Cancer Program as well as a staff physician at Beth Israel. He serves as an Associate Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Pavlos Msaouel, MD is a clinician and cancer researcher at the University of Texas MDAnderson Cancer Center dedicated to translational research for the treatment of genitourinary malignancies. He received his MD and PhD in cellular and molecular physiology from the University of Athens in Greece. He then completed his internal medicine residency at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine / Jacobi Medical Center, and also served as Chief Resident for the program. He subsequently served as Chief Fellow at MD Anderson Cancer Center while completing his fellowship in medical oncology. His clinical interests are in the treatment of patients with renal cell and urothelial carcinomas, with a particular emphasis on rare variants such as renal medullary carcinoma. His laboratory research focuses on understanding the role of defects in subunits of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex, such as SMARCB1, in the biology of genitourinary malignancies. His clinical research involves developing and implementing novel clinical trial designs.

Phillip Pierorazio, MD, is an Associate Professor of Urology and Oncology in the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins University.  He has a special interest in kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma), treating and studying both advanced and early-stage disease. He runs the Delayed Intervention and Surveillance for Small Renal Masses (DISSRM) Registry – one of the largest active surveillance registries for patients with small kidney tumors. He sits on both the AUA and National Comprehensive Cancer Network  (NCCN) Guidelines Committees for Kidney Cancer.

Kimryn Rathmell, MD, is Director of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center. Dr. Rathmell’s research laboratory is focused on cancers caused by deregulation of the normal hypoxia response pathway. Her team uses clear cell renal cell carcinoma as a model system because virtually all of these tumors display disregulation of this pathway. Dr. Rathmell is also a Cornelius A. Craig Professor of Medicine and a Professor of Clinical Medicine and Cancer Biology.

Steven P. Rowe, MD, PhD is a radiologist in the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science at Johns Hopkins specializing in nuclear medicine and oncology imaging. Among his research interests is the use of molecular imaging and other advanced imaging techniques to non-invasively risk stratify renal masses.

Brian Shuch, MD is Director of the Kidney Cancer Program for UCLA Health and the Alvin & Carrie Meinhardt Endowed Chair in Kidney Cancer Research. Previously Dr. Shuch was at Yale University where was an Associate Professor of Urology and Diagnostic Radiology and Director of the Genitourinary Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program as well as the Genitourinary Biospecimen Repository. He completed his urology training at UCLA followed by a Urologic Oncology Fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. He is an accomplished surgeon (open/laparoscopic/robotic/and percutaneous) and clinical/translational researcher.

Ulka Vaishampayan, MD, is the Director of the Phase I program at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, and the Chief of Solid Tumor Oncology in the Department of Oncology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.  She is a Professor of Oncology at Wayne State University and is Associate Director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship program. She has developed, conducted and reported clinical studies in the field of early therapeutics and with a focus on GU malignancies. She was named chair of the Advanced Renal subcommittee within the GU committee of the Southwest Oncology Group in 2018.  She is an appointed member of the NCI Renal task force since 2016. Dr. Vaishampayan has conducted clinical research in the management of kidney cancers and clinical trials with a variety of novel agents in early therapeutics and translational settings.  Her research interests also include trying to evaluate novel pathways and biomarkers in renal cancers.

Martin Voss, MD, is a board-certified medical oncologist dedicated to the care of patients with genitourinary malignancies at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Voss’ clinical focus is the management of advanced cancers of the kidney and urinary tract. He works as part of a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, pathologists, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists.

Tian Zhang, MD, is a graduate of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program, trained in internal medicine residency and hematology-oncology fellowship at Duke, and is now Assistant Professor of Medicine at Duke. Her clinical focus is in genitourinary malignancies (renal, bladder, and prostate cancers). Her research interests focus on novel therapeutics and biomarkers for predicting for immunotherapy response and resistance.

Please note: The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment for a specific medical condition. You should not use information on this website to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease and should consult with a qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

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