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Weekend December 9/10, 2000

Customized Cancer Treatments

More than a million Americans are diagnosed with cancer ever year, each case slightly different from the other. That's why one doctor says he's customizing treatments for his patients, and they say the results are amazing. EXTRA has the story.

Welcome to the microscopic world of Doctor Robert Nagourney, a California Oncologist many call a miracle worker. Tell that to his face and Nagourney simply smiles.

"I think the laboratory can work miracles. I'm just applying laboratory techniques," he replies.

But without Nagourney's perseverance in the lab, hundreds of cancer victims would be dead. His secret weapon? The test tube. Traditionally, cancer patients are given a standard treatment for their type of cancer. Nagourney says the problem is that they don't always respond. He believes each person's cancer is unique like a fingerprint. So using samples from the patient, he tries different treatments on the cancer cells, not the person. He doesn't treat the patient until he finds the therapy that definitely works.

"For many years we were a voice in the woods and nobody would listen all because they were so sure it didn't work," Nagourney remembers.

Well, doctor, they're starting to listen now. Here's why. Nagourney, using his laboratory test tubes has discovered a new drug combination that shows amazing results in breast cancer patients.

"Half of them, many of whom were deemed untreatable, went into very good remissions and have done very well on the treatment," he explains.

Helene Robinson was one of those patients. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. "They tried different forms of chemotherapy on me. Nothing worked. The doctors had basically given up on me," she recalls.

Helene was on her deathbed when she contacted doctor Nagourney. The first thing the doctor ordered was a biopsy of Helene's cancerous tissue. Then his staff of researchers concocted combinations of different drugs to find out what killed those specific cells. In Helene's case, what worked were two drugs traditionally used to treat pancreatic and lung cancers.

"Her doctor was good enough to try it and that took some guts," says Nagourney. And it's working where all else has failed. Helene is still getting chemotherapy but now dares to look towards a bright future with her daughter. She's outraged that she had to go through so much pain before finding doctor Nagourney.

"I feel that part of the reason I am still around is to let people know this option is out there. I think it's horrible that doctors don't tell patients about this, " Helene states.

That's why Rebecca Burns wants to spread the word. Thanks to Nagourney's treatment, she's been cancer-free for 3-years. "I think he treats the patient. You are an individual. You're as unique as what's happening inside you, that's how he treats you," she says. And Nagourney can't imagine doing it any other way.

If you would like more information on Dr. Nagourney's treatment check out www.rationaltherapeutics.com or call (562) 989-6455.



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