For cancer patients, a better match with treatments

Dr. Keith Flaherty has developed a formula for analyzing tumors.
Dr. Keith Flaherty has developed a formula for analyzing tumors.Mass. General Cancer Center

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Advances in genetic profiling have allowed doctors to match more of their cancer patients with treatments that will target their particular illnesses.

But for some one-third of cancer patients, there are no good matches, leaving them with only conventional chemotherapies and radiation.

Now oncologist Dr. Keith T. Flaherty and his colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a more sophisticated formula for analyzing tumors to find their vulnerabilities.

And on Monday, the hospital will announce a partnership with AstraZeneca to pair Flaherty’s computer analysis with the company’s growing library of drugs to identify combinations of treatments that would not otherwise have been considered.

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