Brian I. Rini, MD, is an associate professor of medicine at the
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
and a staff member in the department of solid tumor oncology.
Rini also is a member of the HemOnc Today Editorial Board.
His work focuses on genitourinary malignancies. His primary research
areas have been renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and prostate cancer, with a focus on
immunotherapy and antiangioneic therapy.
I was always interested in math and science, and in college, I decided
that medicine was a good fit. My mother was a nurse, and I was always drawn to
that field. I felt it would be challenging and also allow me to interact with
When patients say after a visit how grateful they are for the
information and hope that I have given them.
Ultimately, most of my patients will succumb to their disease. One has
to take solace in helping them live better and longer, even if cure is not
currently attainable. Ive been out of medical school for 15 years and
have developed more of a comfort level when dealing with it, but it never gets
easier. You also understand how to help people in different ways. You
understand that people need different things from their physician. Not everyone
needs the same approach or the same attitude.
My biggest success has been contributions to the clinical development of
targeted therapy in RCC and ongoing efforts to develop biomarkers. These agents
sorafenib (Nexavar, Bayer), sunitinib (Sutent, Pfizer) and, most
recently, axitinib (Pfizer) have drastically changed the way we treat
RCC. The way we approach the disease is totally different, and patients are
living longer on these drugs.
We will see specific biomarkers developed that allow us to tailor
therapy to individual patients. Im hopeful that we will develop
biomarkers that will help us understand treatment-induced hypertension. There
appears to be a strong signal there, but its a matter of understanding
the biologic basis of that and capitalizing on that. I also see promise in
single nucleotide polymorphisms and their role in drug metabolism, drug
response and drug toxicity. A number of groups are looking at the role of SNPs
in kidney cancer and other cancers.
My initial mentor was Nicholas J. Vogelzang, MD, at The
University of Chicago. He remains a friend and mentor to this day. He is why I
went into genitourinary oncology, as he has great passion for clinical research
and is a staunch patient advocate. Eric J. Small, MD, was then my mentor
for my first faculty job at the University of California, San Francisco, and
provided tremendous guidance to developing a clinical research career.
Make sure you are passionate about doing it. Patient care is both
difficult and rewarding. As with any profession, you need to love it.
Brian I. Rini, MD,
crosses the finish line of a recent triathlon. He is accompanied by his sons,
Jackson and Will.
Photo courtesy of B. Rini, MD.
Im not sure. The rest of my family is in advertising, so perhaps
that. I also was interested in computer science in high school. My retirement
plan is to move to Sonoma and be in the wine industry somehow. Im a wine
enthusiast. I lived in northern California for 4 years, where I was introduced
to wine and developed that interest. Its a hobby that I enjoy.
I have competed in two half ironman triathlons and ran a marathon in the
last couple years. After I passed 40, I had to convince myself I wasnt
that old, so I began to take fitness more seriously. I also take piano and
guitar lessons with my two sons, Jackson and Will. Part of the reason my wife
and I require them to take lessons is that it is best to develop the skill at
an early age.
The guitar and the piano are totally different instruments, both in the
physical and musical skills required. I dont know which one I like
better. I love them both and wish I had more time to practice them.
I just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I
dont do as much pleasure reading as I should, but I enjoy the page-turner
Phil Dunphy of Modern Family is my personal hero. That show
is hilarious, and any middle-aged, married man can identify with him.
I have more than 7,000 songs. I have gotten into music much more over
the last 5 years and my taste varies. My current favorites are John Mayer,
David Gray and Keith Urban. I have always been a huge James Taylor fan, also.
Probably Barcelona, as it is a unique and fun and vibrant city.
Its a little South Beach, a little Vegas, a little New York and others
rolled into one. There is a lot of stuff to do, and there are friendly,
interesting people. My job affords me opportunities to travel internationally,
and I look forward to seeing many places Ive not yet been.