Stage four sarcomatoid kidney cancer patient first to show complete response to immunotherapy
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IMAGE: Asit Paul, M.D., consults with Thomas and Ethel Bland. view more 

Credit: John Wallace at VCU Massey Cancer Center

“You see this place on the image? That’s where your kidney was,” says VCU Massey Cancer Center medical oncologist Asit Paul, M.D., Ph.D., to 69-year-old Thomas Bland. “And the tumors we saw in your lung and other places still have not returned. I’m happy to say you’ve been disease-free for more than two-and-a-half years.”

Bland and his wife, Ethel, smiled at the good news, which is quite extraordinary considering he had stage 4 sarcomatoid kidney cancer. His case is so impressive that it was recently published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Journal of Oncology Practice. Bland was completely unaware of the tumor in his left kidney when he was diagnosed.

“The only thing I remember was driving to work, and then waking up in the hospital,” says Bland, who endured substantial trauma and was medevacked to VCU Medical Center after another driver struck his vehicle. “They did a CT scan to assess the damage, and that’s when they found the tumor.”

After recovering from extensive injuries caused by the car accident, Bland had his left kidney and

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