A new hope in the fight against cancer
The National Institute of Health National Cancer Institute (NCI) has launched a new trial called MATCH, Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice, in an effort to find new treatments for various forms of cancer.
Announced at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) on June 1, the NCI-MATCH trials will try to determine whether targeted therapies for individuals with particular tumor gene mutations will be effective, regardless of cancer type. According to a press release by the National Institutes of Health, the NCI-MATCH trial will incorporate more than 20 different study drugs or drug combinations, each targeting a specific gene mutation, in order to match each patient in the trial with a therapy that targets a molecular abnormality in their tumor. The trial will begin July 1, with 3,000 patients being screened at different sites across the U.S. in hopes of finding 1,000 eligible patients for various treatment arms.
The trial is part of the NCI’s precision medicine initiative, as researchers focus on cancer trials that are faster and more efficient in matching better treatments for individual patients. The Precision Medicine Initiative was launched by the Administration as part of President Obama’s FY 2016 Budget in which $215 million would be set aside for research and databases, of which $70 million would go to the National Cancer Institute to strengthen efforts to develop more effective approaches to cancer treatment.
“NCI-MATCH is a unique, ground-breaking trial,” said Doug Lowy, M.D., NCI acting director in a press release. "It is the first study in oncology that incorporates all of the tenets of precision medicine. There are no other cancer clinical trials of this size and scope that truly bring the promise of targeted treatment to patients whose cancers have specific genetic abnormalities. It holds the potential to transform cancer care.”
The NCI has suffered a 25 percent decline in funding over the last decade, which amounts to $10 billion in cumulative losses since 2003. Robust funding is necessary to sustain and advance innovative research at NCI and other federal health agencies. For more information on the National Cancer Institute or the NCI-MATCH trial, visit http://www.cancer.gov or contact the NCI’s cancer information line at 1-800-4-CANCER. You can also view information about the precision medicine initiative here.