So much has changed "since the human genome was unravelled at the turn of the century" and oncologist Richard Eek is optimistic about cancer treatment opportunities for Border people after a new clinical trial program was secured.
Australia's Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre, Omico, reached out about its Molecular Screening and Therapeutics (MoST) program to the Border Medical Oncology Research Unit.
In order for 50 Border patients who have been diagnosed with rare cancer to participate, one third of costs needed to be funded.
So the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre Trust Fund stepped up with the $27,500 cost, chair Michelle Hensel said.
"It's one of our key priorities that we support research in this building," she said.
"My family was involved with some rare cancers, so to have that hope for the future - because rare cancers, unfortunately, continuously have such terrible outcomes - it's just incredible."
Dr Eek said the MoST program would involve molecular testing conducted on patients' previously removed tumours, involving the "blueprint errors" in cancers "that make them immortal and make them invincible".
"They (researchers) started working on little molecules that interfere with those blueprint errors, and that's what targeted therapy is," he said.
"The whole idea of this trial is to identify possible targets. It does not give treatment for it ... (but) we can potentially put patients on trials.
"If the trial is not running here, but we see one in Canberra, Sydney or Melbourne and know what the defect is, we can send the patient (to that trial) and get access to the drug.
"It's a huge benefit for them to have it right here.
"The Trust Fund's support has become quite an important part of the research unit."
The MoST study, having run in major cities, has accrued about 2700 patients and targets have been detected in 60 per cent of those cases.
"Of those patients, 20 per cent managed to get onto treatment on a trial," Dr Eek said.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"Some of these treatments are very new.
"We run more than 150 trials here, and we've got a system where all our patients get screened to see if they're eligible.
"We hope this is going to be the first regional area participating in a pilot trial; we're going to have 50 patients, and if we find that it works ... it will roll out further here and also nationwide."
Omico chief executive David Thomas welcomed the partnership and said the program had expanded to include major cancer types with high mortality rates.