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Laura Wood, RN, MSN, OCN, is a member of the KCA’s Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the KCA’s Clinical Advisory Board. She is the renal cancer research coordinator at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center.

We spoke with Laura about serving on the Board and her work in medicine.

What motivated you to get involved with the Kidney Cancer Association?

Over the course of my 35 years in oncology nursing, I have spent 25 years in clinical trials. Most of the trials were for renal cancer where I was directly involved in trial implementation, patient and caregiver education, and side effect management.

Through my experience caring for kidney cancer patients and their families, I began to recognize the lack of resources and educational materials available to patients and caregivers as new therapies such as Sutent were being approved. I saw a real opportunity to bring together nurses who specialized in caring for patients with RCC to become that resource. This led to the development of the Kidney Cancer Association’s Nursing Advisory Board.

During my time with the KCA, I have had the opportunity to assist the organization in developing resources that help patients and their loved ones maximize quality of life while living with kidney cancer.

How long have you worked with the KCA?

Nancy Moldawer, RN, MSN and I started the KCA Nursing Advisory Board [now the Clinical Advisory Board] in 2006. I joined the Board of Directors in 2019.

What is your favorite travel destination and why?

My favorite place to visit is Alaska for its amazing landscapes, hiking, and wildlife. We visited Fairbanks in March 2017. We stood in the snow in 30 degree-below-zero temperature to watch and photograph the Northern Lights (they were unbelievable!) I also love watching brown bears during the salmon run.  

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love spending time with my granddaughter and gardening (and laughing when my granddaughter pulls out the flowers I just planted).

What is one thing most people do not know about you?

I played triple tenor drums in my high school and college marching band.

What inspired you to go into the medical field?

Wanting to help others and knowing there would always be a need for nurses.

What are the best things about your nursing career?

The opportunities to help make a difference in the lives of those I have had the privilege to care for. And having amazing colleagues who have been fabulous mentors, supportive, and fun to work with.

2 thoughts on “Spotlight: Laura Wood of the Board of Directors & Clinical Advisory Board Co-chair”

  1. I am so delighted to see Laura Wood featured on your KCA, and it is my pleasure to know this highly experienced individual. Prior to receiving treatment at Cleveland Clinic, I was given six months to live. At my first meeting with Dr. Rini and Ms. Wood, they proposed several new treatment options, but most of all I was given HOPE for a life with RCC and this was 4.5 years ago.

    Ms. Wood, is very knowledgeable in what she does, and there has never been a time that she hasn’t been able to answer our questions regarding medication issues or health concerns. She has always been encouraging, positive, supportive and most of all caring. Several times she has eased both mine and my wife’s worries, and we so appreciate her.

    It has truly been a pleasure to know and trust Laura Wood and the Team she has at Cleveland Clinic.

    Steve Hall

  2. Hi Laura. You probably know Dr. Mark Noble there are Cleveland Clinic. I was 36 years old over 24 years when he diagnosed me with a 5.1 pound renal cell cancer tumor that had grown up into my vena cava. He said the surgery was one of his more difficult and he removed about 1/3 or so of my vena cava. It was a six hour surgery. They found one bone met about the size of a marble that was in the process of healing about a year and a half later that the scan didn’t go down far enough to pick up at first so they considered me stage 4. As luck would have it I was in the right place at the right time as KU Med where he was working back then had a cancer vaccine clinical trial of TIL’s that later ended up being called TVAX. I was offered it after he was very honest with me and my and family that there was a 99++% chance that I had micromets because of the size of the primary tumor. No PET scans yet back then. I couldn’t pull my hand out of my pocket fast enough to sign the informed consent document. Needless to say it worked and I am still here. Now I am about six years out from an aggressive prostate cancer that I was dx’d with in August, 2014. Because of my experience with Dr. Noble the creator of TVAX said if it were him he’d look for a true autologous dendritic cell vaccine. Found it in Delhi, India and again vaccines saved my life. APCEDEN vaccines melted 30 tumors in two months. That was three years ago, and although I am not cured this time my quality of life is good and consider myself very fortunate immunotherapy has helped me so much. If you see Dr. Noble tell him I said hello and that I am still doing very well. He was a wonderful doctor to me and my family still talks about his kindness back then. Trust me, he remembers me!!! LOL

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