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Cancer Precision Medicine Trial Underway

DNA illustration

(National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH)

18 August 2015. A new clinical trial is enrolling participants that tests multiple types of therapies on a number of different cancers based on the genomic make-up of individual patients. The intermediate-stage trial is part of the National Cancer Institute’s Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice, or NCI-MATCH program.

NCI-MATCH seeks to determine if tumors with specific genetic mutations can be treated with drugs developed to address those abnormalities, independent of the type of cancer affecting the individual. The clinical trial plans to pair each cancer patient enrolled with one or more of 10 drugs, later expanding to 22 different therapies.

The study itself is being conducted by Ecog-Acrin Cancer Research Group, an organization that designs and undertakes biomarker-driven cancer research with adults who have or are at risk of developing cancer. The group formed from a merger of Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (Ecog) and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (Acrin), and is part of National Clinical Trials Network.

The clinical trial is open to adults with solid tumors or lymphomas that advanced even if treated with standard therapies, or if no standard treatments are available. NCI-Match plans to screen some 3,000 prospects with the goal of enrolling 1,000 participants, including at least one-quarter of the individuals having a rare form of cancer. Enrollment will be conducted through National Clinical Trials Network at 2,400 sites in the U.S.

Patients will first have biopsies to remove tissue from their tumors for DNA sequencing to identify genetic variations that may be encouraging growth of their tumors. If eligible for participation, individuals will be treated with drugs matching the abnormalities the treatments are designed to address. About 35 participants will be assigned to each treatment. All of the drugs tested in the trial are either already approved or under review by FDA, and contributed by their manufacturers.

National Cancer Institute says DNA analysis will use a test developed at NCI molecular research labs in Frederick, Maryland that hunts for the genes associated with for targeting in the trial. All testing is expected to be done at a single location: the Acog-Acrin Biorepository and Pathology Facility at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Ecog-Acrin says the trial is unique in that it studies each treatment on its own, rather than testing individual drugs against placebos or each other. Also, including rare types of cancers offers patients an opportunity to have their individual conditions evaluated for the same genetic abnormalities found in more common types of cancers.

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