New study aims to rapidly test lung cancer drugs

FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2013 file photo, an infusion drug to treat cancer is administered to a cancer patient via intravenous drip at Duke Cancer Center in Durham, N.C.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2013 file photo, an infusion drug to treat cancer is administered to a cancer patient via intravenous drip at Duke Cancer Center in Durham, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

A bold new way to test cancer drugs started Monday. Like a medical version of speed dating, doctors will sort through multiple experimental drugs and match patients to the one most likely to succeed based on each person’s unique tumor gene profile.

Five drug companies, the government, private foundations and advocacy groups are taking part.

The goal is to speed new treatments to market. Instead of being tested for individual genes and trying to qualify for separate clinical trials testing single drugs, patients can enroll in this umbrella study, get full gene testing and have access to many options at once.

The study is for one type of lung cancer, squamous cell. About 500 hospitals around the country are taking part.

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