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New App Connects Cancer Patients To Treatment

New App Connects Cancer Patients To Treatment

Marty Tenenbaum, now 67, felt alone when he found out he had cancer over ten years ago. He researched through tedious medical studies and labored over complicated emails to medical personnel. He survived melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and wanted to make sure that others who get a cancer diagnosis have somewhere online to collaborate and look for help.

Cancer Commons was launched this week with the hope of bringing together the medical community and patients to engage in what it calls “personalized oncology.”

How It Works
The website is broken into disease models (MDMs), or research on each type of cancer. From the website:

Leading physicians and scientists in each cancer curate molecular disease models (MDMs) that identify the most relevant tests, treatments and trials for each molecular subtype of that cancer, based on the best current knowledge. Patients and Physicians access the MDM through web based applications that transform its knowledge into personalized actionable information that inform testing and treatment decisions.

The idea is to repeat the pattern of test, treat, analyze, learn in an online community.

First Steps
Cancer Commons intends to begin building these open-science communities one cancer at a time. They began with melanoma, the disease Tenenbaum himself battled. By identifying nine subtypes of melanoma, researchers categorize patients in one of nine categories and are able to follow research and tests in each area.

Tenenbaum told the Associated Press:

I’m just trying to pull together all the pieces that are needed to do a real, rational attack on cancer. The way to do that, he says, is to pull people out of their individual labs, offices and hospitals to collaborate in a way not possible before the Web and mobile technologies made it easy to pool vast amounts of information.

Tenenbaum considers himself lucky, believing he would not have survived if he hadn’t had personal connections at the National Cancer Institute where he was able to be in experimental studies. He hopes to see the medical community come together in what is now called “open science” to use science to fight cancer collaboratively.

The App
The Targeted Therapy Finder app for melanoma patients launched this week. Users provide tumor information in order to learn about molecular tests and potential treatments. The app, rather than providing medical advice, provides treatment information for patients to consider with their doctors.

Looking Forward

Cancer Commons is in very early stages, but is looking for physicians with patients who have failed the standard of care, patients with late-stage disease, researchers who truly want to learn from and help patients, and life science companies involved in molecular diagnostics, therapeutics and laboratory services for oncology. The movement hopes to cover many cancer types and provide a wide-range of medical information in one place.

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Photo by Alberta Advanced Education and Technology on Flickr

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7:25AM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

Internet is very good source of information.

8:15PM PST on Feb 1, 2011


2:12PM PST on Jan 31, 2011


8:56PM PST on Jan 27, 2011

I am so happy that such helpful work is going on - thank you!

10:10AM PST on Jan 27, 2011


4:57AM PST on Jan 26, 2011

thanks to share with

11:26AM PST on Jan 24, 2011

The patient should have every bit of info available. This is outstanding!

11:57PM PST on Jan 23, 2011

noted and thanx :)

7:45PM PST on Jan 23, 2011

Noted, I work on an oncology unit.

6:51PM PST on Jan 23, 2011

people need to be careful of untrustworthy sites

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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