Eric F working on sample in lab.jpg

What We Do

We perform functional profiling, a laboratory technique that measures how cancer cells respond when exposed to a variety of drugs and drug combinations.  


Functional Profiling is more powerful than genomic testing that most centers offer.


This approach reduces the guesswork from drug selection to find the most effective, least toxic options.  Results only take 7 days.


You and your doctor can then use this information to guide your treatment.

bouncing down arrow

Personal Cancer Testing & Consultations


Why get tested?

Each cancer patient is unique and their response to therapy is very different from one person to the next.

Drugs that work for one patient may not work for another, even if both patients carry exactly the same diagnosis. This is why each patient should be tested to select the most effective and least toxic drug regimen for them PRIOR to initiating treatment. 

When patients are treated without testing, the treating physicians must rely on general guidelines and protocols that cannot capture each patient's unique features. Standardized, trial-and-error approaches cannot individualize treatment to meet each patient's needs.

Are all cancer tests the same?  

Today, many centers offer genomic (molecular/DNA) tests that examine gene mutations but these tests, with rare exceptions, cannot identify drugs that will actually work for your cancer.

The Nagourney Cancer Institute’s functional profiling analysis (our Ex Vivo Analysis of Programmed Cell Death assay) pioneered the use of patient-derived, living cancer cell studies to determine the most effective and least toxic options for you.

We can test most types of cancers, solid and hematologic (blood).

To find the most effective treatment for you, living tumor cells are collected during biopsy or surgery.  Therefore, it's important to call us BEFORE your biopsy or surgery so we can obtain a sample to analyze.

We can also test fluid accumulations from the lung (pleural effusion) or abdomen (ascites) if they contain enough cancer cells.  Also, if you have leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma, we can often use a blood or bone marrow specimen.

For more information on how to get your cancer cells tested, please call our office at 800-542-4357.  You can also contact us via email HERE.

Samples are sent to us from all over the US and internationally.  Since the test involves living cancer cells, the samples MUST arrive in a very timely manner, within 24-36 hours.

Click here for our Specimen Processing Requirements.

Once your sample is received in our laboratory, results are generally available within 7 days.  



Our director Dr. Nagourney is an internationally recognized cancer researcher and practicing oncologist and is available for consultations to help you better understand your diagnosis and discuss treatment options. He will work with you so you can make informed decisions about your care. 

Click here to see Dr. Nagourney's background and experience.

If you cannot visit our office in Southern California, we may be able to arrange a phone consultation between you and Dr. Nagourney.

Call us at 800-542-4357 to schedule a consultation.   You can also contact us via email here.


"Dr. Robert A. Nagourney - Nobel-quality researcher and clinical oncologist, extraordinary physician, and creative maverick - is the doctor I'd go to if I had cancer.

For decades, with relentless patience, he's been proving that many supposedly incurable cancers can be killed, with greatly reduced harm to the patient, simply by using agents preselected in the laboratory to kill those specific cancer cells."

— Amory B. Lovins
Chairman and Chief Scientist,  Rocky Mountain Institute (named by Time magazine as one of the World's 100 Most Influential People in 2009)


Over the years, I have been privileged to be asked to provide samples to Rational Therapeutics (now Nagourney Cancer Institute) in patients that were stage 4 and in whom I felt their life expectancy would be measured in months.

Dr. Nagourney's assay and the subsequent chemotherapy have been the sole factor in many of these desperately ill patients being alive today, years after their treatment.

— Robert Shuman, MD, Thoracic Surgeon

Our Difference - Functional Profiling

We use functional profiling which is different than genomic testing and is a “real-time” analysis of how your cancer cells actually respond when exposed to various treatment options.

Genomic testing looks for mutations and other changes in your gene makeup that might guide drug selection.  Although the concept is appealing, in reality, a minority of patients have genetic changes that can be used for therapy.

Functional profiling is a laboratory technique pioneered by Dr. Robert Nagourney and his team at the Nagourney Cancer Institute, that measures how cancer cells respond when they are exposed to drugs and drug combinations. 


What to Expect (Written by One of Our Cancer Patients)

If you or a loved one has just been diagnosed with cancer, you may be scared and confused.

You are probably feeling overwhelmed by so many decisions suddenly facing you.

Patients who actively participate in their own treatment decisions generally do better.

Knowledge is power, and being able to ask questions and make informed decisions can truly save your life.