Immunotherapy clinical trial and surgery get kidney cancer survivor back in the game

Last year, Primus Moore was among seven referees selected to officiate Oklahoma’s all-state high school football games. “It’s inspiring for an 18-year-old kid to see that you’re 70 years old and you’re keeping up with them,” he says. For Primus, being able to keep up with high school athletes was an even bigger deal because he was undergoing kidney cancer treatment at the time. After his diagnosis in 2014, he had a total nephrectomy to remove his left kidney. But after he saw a doctor about an ankle injury he suffered while refereeing a high school football game a year and half later, Primus learned the cancer had spread to  his right leg and ankle bones. “I had mixed emotions. I knew that things could go either good or bad,” he recalls. The first oncologist Primus saw in Oklahoma said amputation was his only option. The second recommended he come to MD Anderson. Immunotherapy clinical trial offers hope Hoping to save his leg, Primus and his wife, Veronica, drove to Houston to see Jianjun Gao, M.D., who told Primus about a clinical trial studying immunotherapy’s effectiveness in treating metastatic kidney cancer and preventing its recurrence. As part of the trial, he’d receive three cycles of the immunotherapy drug Nivolumab, followed by surgery to get rid of the tumors in his leg, and then resume the immunotherapy treatments. “I’ve been an educator for over 40 years. Teaching and learning has been in my system, and if I could be of any help for future patients, then that is my goal,” he says of his decision to join the trial. Surgery...