Changing the Landscape of Cancer Trials via Precision Medicine

It’s always exciting to read about ground-breaking advances in scientific research, especially when it pertains to paradigm shifts in cancer drug development and treatment.

What is the NCI-MATCH clinical trial?

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is launching a US cancer clinical trial called NCI-MATCH: NCI-Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice. This precision medicine trial will explore treating patients based on the genetic profiles of their tumors, rather than by cancer type.

NCI-MATCH “is the largest, most rigorous precision oncology trial in history,” says NCI Deputy Director Dr. James Doroshow.

What makes the NCI-MATCH trial unique?

The NCI-MATCH trial is very different from traditional cancer trial models, which tend to focus on cancers in specific organs (lung, breast, colon, prostate, etc) vs the genetic makeup of patients’ tumors. According to the NCI, this trial will analyze patients’ tumors to determine whether they contain genetic abnormalities for which a targeted drug exists, and assign treatment based on the abnormality.

The trial is unique and groundbreaking in that it will:

  • Include up to 2400 clinical sites across the United States, with an initial enrollment of about 3000 patients
  • Incorporate more than 20 different study drug regimens, each targeting a specific gene mutation, so as to match each patient in the trial
  • Use an advanced DNA sequencing test that has been extensively validated across 4 certified laboratories for high consistency of results; this test will detect genetic abnormalities that may be driving tumor growth and might be targeted by one of a wide range of drugs being studied

What’s the goal of NCI-MATCH?

To match each patient in the trial with a therapy that targets a molecular abnormality in their tumor—precision medicine—and to determine whether targeted therapies for people whose tumors have specific gene mutations will be effective regardless of their cancer type.

There is also talk that this new approach to trial design will streamline regulatory approval for cancer dugs, which means promising agents could reach the market sooner.

For more information on this innovative study, check out the infographic below and visit the National Cancer Institute.

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