When confronting cancer, what you don’t know could save your life. That’s the message in Outliving Cancer: The Better, Smarter Way to Treat Your Cancer by Robert A. Nagourney, M.D., who is the medical and laboratory director at Rational Therapeutics, 750 E. 29th St., in Long Beach.
Rational Therapeutics is a pioneering cancer research institute that specializes in the “functional profiling” of human tumors through the application of a laboratory platform known as the Ex-Vivo Analysis of Programmed Cell Death (EVA-PCD). Using human tumor microspheroids isolated directly from surgical specimens, these scientists measure which drugs, combinations and new targeted therapies can induce cell death (programmed cell death, one form of which is apoptosis). This process eliminates the “one size fits all” administration of cancer treatments, enabling physicians to provide personalized cancer care.
Nagourney was a 2012 Finalist in the Patrick Soon-Shoing Innovation Awards.
Many years ago, as an oncology fellow, Nagourney’s lifelong desire to be a healer and a physician had been replaced by his role as what he calls “an administrator of toxic, ineffective chemotherapies.” He said he felt as if he had made a terrible mistake– that his patients weren’t only dying, he was poisoning them.
He resolved that the remainder of his career would be dedicated to finding better, innovative ways to treat cancer. By rethinking what cancer is and how it behaves, Nagourney developed what he considers a smarter, more effective way to treat cancer patients, and he established Rational Therapeutics.
In Outliving Cancer, Nagourney describes the scientific rationale for his particular approach to cancer medicine, beginning with an interest in cancer as a disease and his good fortune to work with many accomplished researchers along the way. Readers will come to understand that cancer is not what it once appeared to be, that its management has often been ill-conceived and ill-applied. The book also demonstrates that cancer doesn’t grow too much but rather that it dies too little and why that matters.
Functional profiling provides a window into the dynamic process by which human tumor cells respond to therapy. By capturing cells within their natural microenvironment, human biology is recreated in the laboratory.
“Medical oncologists have long pursued methods that can match patients to available therapies,” Nagourney said.
Courtesy: The Blaine Group, Inc.