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Doctors fine tune cancer treatment based on individual genetic makeup

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Think of it as your own personal cancer fighter.

Like a fingerprint is unique to an individual, doctors can now fine tune cancer treatment based on a person's genetic makeup.

Dr. Robert Mannel, who is the director of the Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City, said it's a major breakthrough.

"Ten, fifteen years ago, this was the Mt. Everest of biology and science, and today we can do it relatively inexpensively on patients throughout the country and here at the Stephenson," he said.

It's a cutting edge approach to fighting cancer that focuses on the patient, rather than the cancer.

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center hope their new clinical trial will help them tailor the right treatment for each patient.

It's called M.A.T.C.H., which stands for Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice, and it's changing the way doctors treats tumors by removing the guesswork.

Patients with less common cancers now have a chance at trying drugs they never had access to before.

Dr. Kathleen Moore is heading up the clinical trials at Stephenson.

"Ovarian cancer, sarcomas to name a few, who have mutations that may be targetable, but they are so infrequent in each of those specific tumor types that you would never be able to do a clinical trial to test," she said.

That's because those trials are expensive.

Through the M.A.T.C.H. program, doctors will be given all the information they need from the start by digging deep into the patient's gene sequencing for clues about how to treat them.

"It's the beginning of the process that allow us to really make more rational decisions for treatment of patients with recurrent cancers based on their individual tumor profiles," she said.

Doctors and oncologists now know that cancer diagnosis and treatment is not one size fits all.

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