Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Collaborates with Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium on Clinical Trial for Metastatic Kidney Cancer

November 12, 2015

Eric A. Singer, MD, MA, FACSNew Brunswick, N.J. – In conjunction with the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium (BTCRC), Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has opened a clinical trial for patients with kidney cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic).

The study, known as BTCRC-GU14-003, is examining a combination of pembrolizumab, a type of drug known as a PD-1 or “checkpoint” inhibitor, with bevacizumab, a therapy that targets blood vessel formation in tumors, for the treatment of patients with metastatic kidney cancer.

Pembrolizumab works by targeting a receptor on the surface of T cells called PD-1. This receptor turns off T cells and prevents them from killing cancer cells. Pembrolizumab blocks that action, allowing T cells to remain active and have an immune response against cancer.   

Eric A. Singer, MD, MA, FACS, urologic oncologist at Rutgers Cancer Institute and assistant professor of surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is the lead researcher on the study at the Cancer Institute. “For patients with advanced stages of kidney cancer, effective treatment options are limited.  By exploring therapies that harness one’s own immune system, there is an opportunity to address an unmet need in this patient population,” he said.

The aim of this Phase II trial is to determine what effects pembrolizumab in combination with bevacizumab has on patients who have not received prior therapy for metastatic kidney cancer. Accepted participants will be followed by the study team for up to two years. Patients aged 18 and older who are diagnosed with metastatic kidney cancer are eligible to take part in the clinical trial. Other criteria must also be met.  Prior to being accepted into the study, participants would be required to undergo a number of tests including blood work and a physical exam. 

For more information on how to take part in this trial, individuals can call the Cancer Institute’s Office of Human Research Services at 732-235-8675 or e-mail  Additional information, including full eligibility criteria, is available at (clinical trial # 02348008).

Clinical trials, often called cancer research studies, test new treatments and new ways of using existing treatments for cancer.  At the Cancer Institute, researchers use these studies to answer questions about how a treatment affects the human body and to make sure it is safe and effective.  There are several types of clinical trials that are currently underway at the Cancer Institute, including those that diagnose, treat, prevent, and manage symptoms of cancer. Many treatments used today, whether they are drugs or vaccines, ways to do surgery or give radiation therapy, or combinations of treatments, are the results of past clinical trials.

As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Cancer Institute offers patients access to treatment options not available at other institutions within the state.  The Cancer Institute currently enrolls more than 1,200 patients in clinical trials annually, including approximately 17 percent of all new adult cancer patients and approximately 70 percent of all pediatric cancer patients. Enrollment in these studies nationwide is fewer than five percent of all adult cancer patients.

About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at the Cancer Institute engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life.  To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 848-932-3637 or visit Follow us on Facebook at

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center and Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center. Affiliate Hospitals: JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset.

About the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium
The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium creates a unique team-research culture to drive science rapidly from ideas to treatment-changing paradigms. Within this innovative environment, today’s research leaders collaborate with and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow with the unified goal of improving the lives of all patients with cancer.

About the Big Ten Conference
The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to almost 9,500 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013. For more information, visit

Michele Fisher









precision medicine at Rutgers Cancer Institute








Proud member of
Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium



Rutgers Health