LONG BEACH, Calif., Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Rational Therapeutics, a cancer research treatment center specializing in individualized therapy based on ex-vivo drug analysis, announced the appointment of Robert M. "Spike" Irwin as chief executive officer.
Irwin joins Rational Therapeutics as it undertakes a series of new business development initiatives to expand its reach and offer more cancer patients access to assay directed therapy -- an approach guided by the analysis of tumor sensitivity and resistance to various chemotherapeutics. Through proprietary ex-vivo analysis (EVA) whereby an individual's tumor biopsy is screened against various FDA-approved cancer drugs, Rational Therapeutics is capable of identifying drugs that are most likely to result in a positive clinical response prior to a patient initiating therapy. Rational Therapeutics has been successfully guiding the treatment of patients with personalized chemotherapy regimens since founded in 1995.
"Spike's extensive experience will help us grow Rational Therapeutics as we step up efforts to help patients and the medical community benefit from our individualized approach to cancer treatment," said Dr. Robert Nagourney, Rational Therapeutics founder and medical director, as well as medical director of The Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. "He brings the ideal blend of skills necessary to help us fulfill our mission of bringing individualized, assay based analysis and therapy to the forefront of oncology care."
Chemosensitivity assays have been used as a means of predicting the tumor response to various chemotherapies since the 1950's. A variety of assays have been developed; however, variations in their processing and technique for measuring drug response have a substantial impact on their accuracy, and recent advances in technology have increased effectiveness of these tests.
Rational Therapeutics' EVA assay improves accuracy in assessing tumor sensitivity and resistance to chemotherapy treatments by considering:
* Tumor cell death rather than tumor cell growth -- The EVA assay
considers the ability of a chemotherapeutic to induce programmed cell
death, a logical step forward from older assays that only measure tumor
* Tumor cell environment -- Research has shown that tumor cell viability
is affected by the way the cells communicate and interact with each
other. An accurate laboratory test, in vitro, must analyze cells in an
environment that mimics viability in vivo. The EVA assay analyzes
tumor cell response to drugs in a microspheroid, which mimics cancer's
native environment within the body, and is a significant advancement
over the single cell suspension methods of older assays that don't
allow cancer cells to interact and grow in a viable tumor cell
"Rational Therapeutics has had tremendous success customizing cancer care, due in large part to our staff as well as our EVA assay, which has the unique ability to identify the chemotherapy drug or combinations of drugs that will work most effectively and eliminate drugs that won't work before a patient starts treatment," Irwin said. "I look forward to expanding the markets to which we offer our services and, in turn, increasing our capacity to help patients take control of their disease and identify the treatment that is right for them."
Irwin comes to Rational Therapeutics with more than 25 years of CEO and COO experience, leading more than a dozen high-growth service, manufacturing and distribution companies, including a subsidiary of Fortune 50 company Westinghouse Electric Corp. His vast management expertise encompasses start-ups, turnarounds, acquisitions and IPOs. He is an experienced generalist with a background that includes facilitating the growth of a 17-employee, one office regional firm into a 2,000-plus employee national company and working with institutional partners to lead the acquisition of the largest niche distribution company in the nation.
Prior to joining Rational Therapeutics, Irwin served as president and CEO of Outsourcing Services Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, operations, corporate repositioning, staffing, risk management and benefits administration.
Irwin attended the University of Southern California and has shared his business experience and expertise by serving as a long time business resource for Pepperdine University's MBA Program on Entrepreneurship. He currently serves as an independent trustee and chairman of the Teamsters Health and Welfare Trust, as well as a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), Young President's Organization Graduates (YPOG) and World Presidents Organization (WPO), among others.
About Rational Therapeutics
Founded in 1995, Rational Therapeutics is a pioneering cancer research testing center specializing in individualized therapy based on ex-vivo drug analysis (EVA). Through a rational approach to cancer treatment known as assay directed therapy, Rational Therapeutics' proprietary EVA assay incorporates the most advanced and accurate methodology for assessing tumor cell sensitivity to various chemotherapy drugs. Based on the fundamental belief that every cancer and every cancer patient is different, the EVA assay empowers patients to make informed and timely decisions to fight their specific cancer. More information about Rational Therapeutics, assay directed therapy for the treatment of cancer, and the EVA assay is available at www.rationaltherapeutics.com.