In the US today, a shocking number of people are expected to suffer from cancer. 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women are at risk for developing cancer in their lifetime, and worldwide cancer cases are expected to increase by 75% in the next two decades.
But not everyone is taking this tragedy lying down. Every year, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) launches an international crowdsourcing challenge to help solve the most pressing issues in oncology medicine. And this year they took on a big one, leveraging the power of the crowd to come up with innovative solutions that have the potential to make real progress in healthcare.
The Clinical Trial Innovation Prize is offering a total of $150,000 for a breakthrough that doubles the accrual rate of clinical trials in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This means getting more people to participate in clinical trials, where they'll help advance the study of cancer and may get a treatment that proves effective for them.
80% of cancer patients are unaware that clinical trials are available to them. And 40% of cancer trials don't reach the minimum patient enrollment they need. But the finalists of this crowdsourced incentive challenge aim to change this, improving our ability to study this deadly disease.
The Finalists of the Clinical Trial Innovation Prize
The judges have announced the five challenge finalists, who have created products that show promise for reducing the barriers to participating in clinical trials. Here they are, in no particular order.
Science Fight Cancer: A user-friendly web app that helps patients and their doctors find clinical trials. The team is composed of Hillary Lin, a Stanford MD training to be an oncologist, and Andrew Ow, a Stanford MBA and successful entrepreneur.
ClinTrial Refer: An app that lets clinical trial managers upload data in real time, and provides a platform for doctors and patients to connect and make cross-referrals. The team is led by Roslyn Ristuccia, a haematology clinical research manager in NSW, Australia.
MatchPoint by Helynx: MatchPoint is an app to match patients at community sites with clinical trials near them. It uses machine learning to understand data from trial sites, organizes that data, provides oncologists with a convenient search tool, and matches up patients with appropriate trials.
TheMednet: themednet.org will be a social network for doctors, providing an easy platform to find clinical trials. It will also serve as a place for education through conversations, with a Q&A to help physicians crowdsource great solutions from each other.
Recentia Health: Recentia Health wants to create an efficient system that will be able to identify cancer patients based on their specific conditions. Then those conditions can be matched up to active clinical trials near them, and a patient navigator can help the patient participate in them.
These innovators are working to make a real, significant change in the world. It's a strange challenge for our modern era, when we are more connected than ever. But that connection is now working towards a solution: by crowdsourcing through incentive challenges like this one, we can tap into the collective power of minds all around the world and find unique answers to our most difficult problems.
So keep an eye on the Clinical Trial Innovation Prize, and look forward to a future of better oncology research. Cancer doesn't stand a chance!