New Israeli-US Startup Harnesses AI To Help Cancer Patients Find The Right Clinical Trials
October 10, 2018
“This article was re-published with permission from NoCamels.com – Israeli Innovation News.
Cancer patients often face long and difficult battles against the disease, ranked by the World Health Organization as among the top ten causes of death worldwide. Starting the process of finding appropriate treatment can be a trying, difficult experience as patients navigate traditional chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery treatments, as well as thousands of clinical trials for experimental cancer drugs, and alternative treatment offerings.
Some companies are developing ways to facilitate patients’ efforts to find the right treatment. Using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation, they develop matching services and search engines to help patients find an appropriate course of action, especially when it comes to clinical trials through which doctors hope to find and improve on new treatments and drugs for cancer.
Belong, for example, a New York-based company founded by two Israeli entrepreneurs, has built a social network for cancer patients that enables easier access to health professionals and patients with similar conditions. The Belong app serves as a platform through which patients can receive responses by professionals, converse with other patients, and use Belong’s clinical trial matching service.
However, clinical trial matching has proven a particularly complex business. Google searches can easily overwhelm cancer patients seeking the right experimental treatment. Personal physicians and oncologists have limited knowledge about the thousands of options available around the globe. According to a 2007 report in the magazine Applied Clinical Trials, even companies specializing in clinical trial matching can “introduc[e] additional complexity” into patients’ lives and bring with them the “obvious conflict of interest potential with matching services being provided by sponsors.”
Perhaps because of these difficulties, clinical trial enrollment is now declining.
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