Stamford Health’s Bennett Cancer Center Participates in NCI-MATCH Clinical Trial

Published: October 19, 2016

Stamford Health’s Carl & Dorothy Bennett Cancer Center is among 200 cancer centers in the U.S. to offer patients with advanced tumors the ability to participate in a unique National Cancer Institute clinical trial. The National Cancer Institute Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (NCI-MATCH) trial determines the best treatment for a patient by examining the genetic make-up of their tumor. NCI-MATCH searches for abnormalities in advanced solid tumors and lymphomas that have stopped responding to standard therapy and determines if a drug is available to treat those specific mutations in the tumor.

“We are proud to offer this phase II precision medicine trial to our patients, as it will help identify if there are certain drugs or drug combinations to treat tumors in adults based on specific gene abnormalities, regardless of the type,” says K.M. Steve Lo, MD, Hematology-Oncology, Bennett Cancer Center and Principal Investigator for the trial. “This is the largest, most scientifically rigorous precision medicine cancer trial to date. It will advance our knowledge and ability to treat many cancers now and into the future.”

The Bennett Cancer Center, which recently became a member of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Care Collaborative, began enrolling patients in NCI-MATCH this spring. Precision medicine differs from focusing on the origin organ site of the cancer, instead tailoring treatment based on the unique molecular abnormalities of the tumor and characteristics of each individual. Patients 18 years of age and older, who have these advanced tumors, are eligible to enroll. An initial screening process involves a biopsy, which tests the tumor for genetic abnormalities that may be causing it to grow.

If a molecular mutation is detected and a drug – that’s being offered by the trial – is a match to treat that abnormality, then the patient is accepted into NCI-MATCH.

Once enrolled, patients are treated with the prescribed drug for as long as their tumor shrinks or remains stable. According to the National Cancer Institute, the trial includes 24 arms, or sub-protocols, which means there is a wider range of mutations that can be matched with drugs that are offered. Each drug has either been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or is still being tested, but has effectively treated tumors in other clinical trials.

NCI-MATCH was co-developed by the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health and the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, one of five NCI National Clinical Trials Network groups. The cost of the study-related biopsies, molecular tests and drugs assigned to treat a patient’s cancer will be covered by the trial. NCI-MATCH estimates that biopsies from as many as 5,000 patients across the country will be analyzed to treat common cancers, including breast, colon, lung and prostate as well as rare cancer sites such as the eye, ureter and pituitary gland. More information about the trial can be found on the NCI-MATCH trial site.

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