During an internship in London at the Institute of Urology, Bex became fascinated by urology. Years later he left Germany, his country of birth, for the Netherlands because of love. There he got appointed at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital. “In recent years, our knowledge of cancer in general and the application of targeted medicines increased and surgical procedures have become more refined by technological developments.” The AVL in particular is characterized by a perfect combination of innovation and health care, according to Bex. “This gave me the opportunity to conduct extensive research into the effectiveness of treatments for advanced kidney cancer. At what stage do medicines deliver sufficient results, when is surgery necessary and how do pre and post treatment determine the chances of survival?”
Since kidney cancer is relatively rare, it is difficult to reach a large group of patients for research. Centralization of healthcare makes this less problematic and, in addition to improving quality, also facilitates research. This ultimately benefits the patients.
Bex has been working on this for a considerable amount of time in the Netherlands. “Through international connections, I was asked to consider working on centralization in a special kidney cancer clinic at The Royal Free London. I have thought about this considerably, because I have always enjoyed working at the AVL. However, this was an opportunity to improve healthcare even more. At the clinic in London, we see 1,600 new patients every year and perform up to 450 renal surgical procedures. Fortunately, I am also still working at the AVL.” In 2020, Bex has also been appointed professor at University College London (UCL).
In recent years, as a remarkable development, more kidney tumors have been discovered incidentally by radiological examination for other conditions. Bex: “For small renal masses, the question is whether and what treatment is necessary. In addition, the aim is to increase the survival chances of advanced kidney cancer patients by investigating in which group pre and post treatment with specific immunotherapy is most effective. These studies are already ongoing, but a lot more research will be needed here too. So that hopefully no one will have to die from kidney cancer in the end.”
Professor Axel Bex's inaugural lecture will take place (online)
on Thursday February 18th from 5.30 - 6.15 PM