As our understanding of cancer biology has grown, we have found that each tumor has its own set of genetic changes and use specific, individual biochemical pathways to grow and escape natural defense mechanisms. Understanding these genetic changes paves the way for individual, new and highly promising therapeutic options, and participating in a clinical trial could mean receiving the best treatment available for that specific cancer.
The Boston-based startup Cure Forward is helping cancer patients access precision medicine, and provide a service that seeks to connect cancer patients with clinical trial recruiters. The service starts with the patient having molecular testing, which is then used to connect the patient with clinical trials that could provide more personalized treatments. While searchable clinical trial databases already exists, Cure Forward allow patients to create anonymous profiles that describe their disease and where they are willing to travel to participate in a clinical trial. Recruiters set up searches outlining what types of patients they are looking to enroll, and when a patient is identified the recruiter receives a notification and issues an invite to the patient. The service is free for patients and physicians, but charge trial recruiters a fee when they enroll subjects.
Although it is intended for patients to visit the website along with their physician, selecting a trial after talking through options together, there is an educational component to the service. The website host a collection of information about mutations and genes, and their role in both healthy and disease states, helping patients make better sense of what is responsible for their disease. In addition, the site aim to connect patients with each other, allowing patients with similar cancer and clinical history to find support.
Clinical trials are key for advancing medical knowledge and patient care. Oncology clinical trials are especially complex, and drug developers often struggle to find the right patients to receive their investigational treatments. In addition, the current system place undue burden on patients and caregivers to navigate the vast landscape of medical options, and over 80 percent of cancer patients are seen by oncologists who are not affiliated with academic institutions, limiting their ability to find clinical trials. Cure Forward has developed a simple-to-use platform that allows patients to obtain their genomic data and use it to identify treatment options, while solving critical needs for healthcare providers and clinical trial recruiters. The startup bridge the gap between patients and precision medicine, giving them access to targeted therapies and cutting-edge treatments that can make a difference in their life expectancy. The simple, yet innovative service could play an essential role in future advancements in the fight against cancer. It empowers patients, increase access to best possible care, improve patient outcomes and care, while propelling precision medicine and advance targeted treatments to the market more quickly.
Cure Forward has previously raised $15 million in a Series A financing with Apple Tree Partners being the sole investor, and earlier in 2016 announced that they had partnered with Novartis to help them identify potential participants for their current oncology trials. The startup plan an international expansion over the next couple of years, and is also considering expanding beyond cancer.