NCI to Fulfill "Ongoing Dream" With 20-Arm Precision Oncology Trial

An ambitious clinical trial set to start in July will match patients to treatments based on molecular abnormalities, rather than cancer types, testing 20 targeted drugs at once.

The landmark trial will be run by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which expects the experiment to contribute to the progress of precision medicine.

The NCI-MATCH trial will seek to recruit 1,000 adults 18 years of age or older with progressive advanced solid tumors and lymphomas that are either refractory to standard therapy or for which there is no standard therapy. Participants will be assigned to small phase 2 trials based on molecular tumor profiling of specimens from biopsies conducted at the time of study entry.

The trial is “a critical and leading part” of the nation’s precision medicine initiative, Clifford A. Hudis, a breast cancer specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said during the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), a gathering of nearly 30,000 oncology professionals in Chicago. A past president of ASCO, Hudis spoke during a press briefing during which NCI-MATCH and other innovative research projects were detailed.

An ambitious clinical trial set to start in July will match patients to treatments based on molecular abnormalities, rather than cancer types, testing 20 targeted drugs at once.

The landmark trial will be run by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which expects the experiment to contribute to the progress of precision medicine.

The NCI-MATCH trial will seek to recruit 1,000 adults 18 years of age or older with progressive advanced solid tumors and lymphomas that are either refractory to standard therapy or for which there is no standard therapy. Participants will be assigned to small phase 2 trials based on molecular tumor profiling of specimens from biopsies conducted at the time of study entry.

The trial is “a critical and leading part” of the nation’s precision medicine initiative, Clifford A. Hudis, a breast cancer specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said during the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), a gathering of nearly 30,000 oncology professionals in Chicago. A past president of ASCO, Hudis spoke during a press briefing during which NCI-MATCH and other innovative research projects were detailed.

“In oncology, we’ve embraced this idea for years,” Hudis said. “The initiatives that we’re discussing today reflect not a new initiative but an expansion of an ongoing dream that we have been pursuing.”

“This is the largest and most rigorous precision oncology trial that’s ever been attempted,” added James H. Doroshow, the NCI’s deputy director.

The NCI has made an internal commitment to fully fund the study, independent of the discussions now under way in Congress regarding the $215 million appropriation that the Obama administration has proposed for the precision medicine initiatives in cancer and other diseases, according to Doroshow.

Doroshow said it probably would cost $30 million to $40 million for the first stages of NCI-MATCH and that the budget could expand by 15 percent to 20 percent as more drugs are added to the list of agents tested and additional substudies are conducted. The NCI will pay for biopsies and laboratory sequencing tests, officials indicated.

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