Meeting Its Match

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Dr.-Ravindra-KolheMCG is part of a groundbreaking approach to cancer treatment
People always hope that there will be a breakthrough in cancer treatment. Now, local researchers will be involved in a new medical trial to assess the effectiveness of targeting cancer-causing genes rather than cancer types.

The Georgia Esoteric and Molecular Laboratory at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University has been selected as a laboratory for the National Cancer Institute’s Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice, or MATCH trial. It is the seventh academic lab in the nation designated for the trial.

The NCI-MATCH trial will enroll up to 6,500 patients at 2,400 participating sites across the country. These patients have solid tumors or lymphomas, which have progressed despite standard treatments, or rare cancers with no consensus treatment. 

For the trial, physicians send patient biopsies to these labs for analysis of cancer-causing gene changes, including mutations and amplifications. Patients are enrolled in one of nearly 40 treatments based on identified changes, regardless of their cancer type. 

“We are privileged to join the laboratory network for this groundbreaking national trial that we all hope will improve cancer treatment by precisely targeting a patient’s gene variants,” says Dr. Ravindra Kolhe, molecular pathologist and director of the GEM Laboratory in the MCG Department of Pathology. He also is the primary developer of a new test called Augusta OncoTarget.

One of the latest additions to MCG’s GEM Lab, Augusta OncoTarget includes next-generation sequencing that enables large numbers of genes, and an unprecedented number of known cancer-causing variants in those genes, to be tested simultaneously. 

“We believe this comprehensive analysis will help provide scientifically sound and personalized therapy targets for consideration by patients and their physicians,” Kolhe says.