Brandon Manley, M.D., is a urologic oncologist who specializes in genitourinary oncology, with a focus on patients with kidney cancer. He currently practices at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, where he lives with his wife Aimee, and his two daughters Sadie and Brooklyn. The family enjoys traveling to different Florida beaches, and escaping to the North in winter to see family and ski.
For this month’s Community Spotlight, KidneyCAN spoke to Dr. Brandon Manley of Moffitt Cancer Center. In addition to his clinical responsibilities as a urologic oncologist, Dr. Manley engages in translational kidney cancer research as part of a team of physicians and scientists at Moffitt Cancer Center.
A Passion Inspired by Mentors
Please tell us about your research and what prompted you to pursue a career focusing on kidney cancer.
The impetus for my passion and career in kidney cancer research started when I was in medical school.
I was influenced profoundly by mentors, including Drs. Rob Uzzo and Alexander Kutikov. It is here where I learned about the intricacies of kidney cancer and found it fascinating how the biology and clinical management was different from many other solid tumors.
As I continued with my training, I was fortunate enough to be influenced by several other leaders in the field, such as Drs. Ari Hakimi and James Hsieh; this further confirmed my desire to have an independent career in the field.
Much of my research in kidney cancer would be considered translational research. To me, this means bringing several aspects of traditional research such as biology and immunology and merging them with novel methodologies: like spatial modeling and diversity scoring, but keeping a focus on the clinical and patient impact of the results. I have also been privileged to get to work with wonderful residents and fellows at Moffitt Cancer Center, who continue to amaze me with their dedication and innovation.
Advice for Patients Newly-Diagnosed with Kidney Cancer
What is one tip or bit of advice you would give to someone newly diagnosed with kidney cancer?
I think for many patients who have a new diagnosis of cancer, things can get overwhelming very quickly. Ideally, patients should engage family or friends to try and develop a support network, as there will likely be several doctors’ appointments and testing needed during the initial work-up for any new cancer diagnosis. Having another set of eyes and ears to listen to all the information is almost always helpful. Identifying non-medical support groups, especially those from patient advocacy networks, can also be an excellent way to get information at a very specific patient level; and to ask questions that may not deal directly with the medical management of your cancer.
Would you advice a newly-diagnosed patient to get a second opinion?
I think this is always a good idea, especially when dealing with a serious diagnosis such as cancer. No physician or provider should ever take offense to having their patients get other opinions. Sometimes management options are not clearly defined, and having other opinions can allow patients to consider different management options.
“We cannot be satisfied with the current standard of care.”
– Brandon Manley, M.D.
Speaking Up for Research Funding
What made you decide to advocate for kidney cancer research funding?
As a surgeon scientist, I can speak firsthand to how difficult it can be sometimes to protect clinicians’ time and resources to further scientific research efforts. The struggle between clinical demand and allowing time to engage in critical and transformative research is always there. Supporting both young and established investigators is the only way to secure a future in which we will be able to bring innovative treatments to our patients.
We cannot be satisfied with the current standard of care. One of the most important parts for this to happen is to have the resources available to support investigators, studies and collaboration. Without the resources and generosity of others, we simply would not be able to conduct impactful research. This is why I try to do my fair share of promoting the need for such resources, while also trying to demonstrate the impact of that support.
What would you like clinicians and researchers to know about the Kidney Cancer Research Program (KCRP) award process and how these High Risk/High Reward programs impact patients?
KCRP allows for projects which might be considered “premature” by traditional funding agencies. These programs allow for the possibility of developing significant breakthroughs in a shorter amount of time, which therefore will allow these results to impact patients much sooner.
The current scientific landscape — with respect to technology, therapeutics, and patient management — is changing rapidly. This requires research projects to be adaptable and in line with current patient needs.
Optimism for Tough Times
What is something that motivates or inspires you on harder days?
Absolutely my patients. I simply attend my clinic or round on my patients in the hospital, and I am fully revitalized by witnessing their determination and optimism.