Dr. Atkins is a graduate of Tufts University and Tufts Medical School and completed a Residency in medicine and a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at New England Medical Center. He joined the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 1997, after ten years at New England Medical Center. In 2002, Dr. Atkins became the Deputy Director of the Hematology/Oncology Division. Dr. Atkins is a cancer clinical investigator and is internationally recognized for his research in melanoma, renal cancer and cytokine-based immunotherapy. He has led some of the pivotal clinical trials in these fields that have influenced the current treatment of patients with melanoma and renal cancer.
Dr. Atkins is the Director of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Kidney Cancer Program and the DF/HCC kidney Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence [SPORE] grant. This is the only National Cancer Institute funded SPORE focused on renal cancer. Together with physicians from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and other area hospitals, Dr. Atkins works toward finding treatments, and ultimately a cure, for renal cancer. Five major projects are supported through this fund:
1. Identification of biomarkers in urine and blood to enable detection of disease at an earlier and more treatable stage and more sensitive monitoring of treatment effects.
2. Identification of molecular and immunologic predictors of kidney cancer responsiveness to IL-2 and other therapies enabling us to target treatments to those most likely to benefit.
3. Evaluation of the clinical and biologic effects of novel drugs with potent antitumor and anti-angiogenic properties, administered either alone or in combination, in patients with high risk or advanced kidney cancer.
4. Evaluation of novel vaccine and immunotherapy treatment approaches for patients with advanced kidney cancer.
5. Evaluation of mechanisms of resistance to standard therapies and ways of preventing or delaying its development.