Precision Medicine Trial for Cancer Patients at UAB

Aug 16, 2016 at 12:26 pm by steve

The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is enrolling patients for the National Cancer Institute Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice, or NCI-MATCH study, the largest, most scientifically rigorous precision medicine trial in cancer to date.

Precision medicine is a medical model that customizes treatment to the individual patient. This study will provide targeted therapy for cancer patients, while measuring effectiveness in a variety of cancers. This clinical trial is available for patients who have cancer that has returned or gotten worse after standard treatment, or a type of cancer that has no standard treatment.

Patients with the same type and stage of cancer usually receive the same cancer treatments. However, patients can respond differently to these treatments. Researchers have discovered that genetic changes, or molecular abnormalities, in a patient's tumor may cause the cancer to grow.

"This clinical trial is an example of what precision medicine is all about," said Carla Falkson, MD, professor in the UAB Division of Hematology and Oncology. "We are at an exciting point in cancer where we can tailor care to the individual based on emerging treatment that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle."

The NCI-MATCH will assign, or "match," a patient to a specific cancer treatment based on whether certain genetic changes are found in their tumor. If the patient's tumor has genetic changes that match one of the drugs being studied in the trial, the patient can take part.

Patients will undergo a biopsy and may have to have other tests to see whether they can take part in the study.

"This study will help researchers learn whether study drugs targeting certain genetic changes in cancer cells can be effective in treating a variety of cancers," Falkson said. "This type of clinical trial is very broad in nature and has the capability of enrolling patients locally, regionally and nationally."

The trial seeks to enroll 3,000 adults who are 18 years of age or older. Initially, the trial will be open with 10 treatments, and then an additional 12 treatments will be added. There will be 35 patients enrolled for each drug/drug combination being studied.

Study drugs have been approved by the FDA for a specific type of cancer with a particular genetic change. Other drugs are still being studied, but have shown some effect across different cancers with a specific genetic change.

The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center was recently selected as one of only 30 institutions in the United States to receive funding as a Lead Academic Participating Site for the NCI's newly created National Clinical Trials Network.

For information on the NCI-MATCH study, contact Liz Busby, director of Oncology Clinical Trials at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, at

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