In addition to his position as medical and laboratory director at Rational Therapeutics, Robert A. Nagourney, MD, is an instructor of Pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. 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, earning a BA in Chemistry, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa with Distinction in Biochemistry. He received his medical degree at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he was a University Scholar. After completing his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, Dr. Nagourney received fellowship training in Medical Oncology at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He went on to complete a second fellowship in Hematology at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla, California, where he was the recipient of the Scripps Institute Young Investigator Award.
In 1986, Dr. Nagourney co-founded Oncotech with Larry Weisenthal, MD, PhD. After serving as the medical director, he left Oncotech in 1991 to focus his full attention on the study of drug-induced programmed cell death in human tumor primary cultures. Recognizing the profound impact that these discoveries would have upon the practice of clinical oncology, he accepted the position of Director of Experimental Therapeutics at Long Beach Memorial in California. Convinced that the broad application of Ex Vivo Analysis had the potential to revolutionize patient care, Dr. Nagourney founded Rational Therapeutics in 1993, where he pioneered the use of “functional profiling” to create the world’s first personalized cancer therapy program.
Two fundamental breakthroughs underlie the success of Dr. Nagourney’s approach. The first was the recognition that cancer reflected a deregulation of cell survival, not cell proliferation. The second reflected an understanding of cancer biology as cancer ecology. Wherein, cancer cells must be studied in their native state, not propagated, sub-cultured nor removed from their stroma, inflammatory and vascular environment.
With more than 20 years experience in human tumor primary culture analyses, Dr. Nagourney has authored more than 100 manuscripts, book chapters and abstracts; including publications in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Gynecological Oncology and The Journal of National Cancer Institute. As co-investigator on national cooperative trials, Dr. Nagourney is recognized for the introduction of cisplatin/Gemcitabine doublets in the treatment of advanced ovarian and breast cancers.
With the desire to change how cancer care is delivered, he accepted the position as Medical Director of the Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial in 2003. In 2008, he returned to Rational Therapeutics full-time to rededicate his expertise to expanding the Rational Therapeutics program, nationally and internationally.
He is a frequently invited lecturer for numerous professional organizations and universities, and has served as a reviewer and on the editorial boards of several journals including Clinical Cancer Research, British Journal of Cancer, Gynecologic Oncology, Cancer Research and the Journal of Medicinal Food.