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GEN’s editorial staff interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

Rational Therapeutics is a California-based company that believes in therapies that are scientifically tailored for each individual cancer patient. By analyzing tumor response in the laboratory, the company identifies which chemotherapy drugs induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) and which ones do not. This will determine the most effective therapy for each patient based on his or her individual tumor makeup, according to Dr. Robert Nagourney, medical and lab director at Rational Therapeutics.

During this week's podcast, Dr. Nagourney talks about why he views the company's approach as so promising. He describes the EVA-PCD™ assay, which is the technical driver behind the firm's individualized cancer therapy methodology, and highlights the major role this assay plays in the treatment of cancer patients.

Dr. Nagourney also discusses other key technology platforms that are essential to Rational Therapeutics' individualized therapy and gives details on the types of studies and clinical trials that have provided scientific evidence for the company's therapeutic paradigm. He shows how Rational Therapeutics is different from Biotherapeutics, which was one of the first companies, now out of business, that focused on individualized cancer therapies in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Listen to this important and provocative discussion then return to the blog to give your thoughts on the following questions:

What do you see as most promising about spicifically tailoring cancer therapies for individuals? What are the potential downsides to such a therapeutic approach?

Or, if you prefer, post your own topic on the biotech industry subject of your choice. Please share your opinions and observations.
Robert A. Nagourney, MD, is Medical and Laboratory Director at Rational Therapeutics, Inc., in Long Beach, California, Medical Director of the Malcolm C. Todd Cancer Center at Memorial Medical Center of Long Beach, Long Beach, California, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the University of California at Irvine. He is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hematology. A native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Dr. Nagourney completed his undergraduate education at Boston University, Massachusetts, earning a BA in Chemistry, graduating with high honors and with Distinction in Biochemistry. Dr. Nagourney went on to receive his MD at McGill University in Canada, where he was a University Scholar. He then completed his Residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, and the Long Beach VA Medical Center. Dr. Nagourney completed his Fellowship in Medical Oncology at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC. As a recipient of the Scripps Institute Young Investigator Award, he completed further study in Hematology at Scripps Clinic and Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Rational Therapeutics is a pioneering cancer research center specializing in new treatment protocols and individualized therapy. Dr. Nagourney’s focus on programmed cell death events in the test tube has provided a robust method for the prediction of response and survival in the clinical setting. The initial application of this process was in the study of existing cytotoxic drugs and radiation effects on human cancer cells. As clinical correlations became increasingly strong, the laboratory tests are now also applied to the study of novel drugs and combinations.

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