Leveraging AI To Find the “Right” Clinical Trial
Blog Feb 14, 2020 | By Laura Elizabeth Lansdowne, Senior Science Writer, Technology Networks.
Less than 5% of adult cancer patients enroll in clinical trials even though it is estimated that a large percentage (70% of Americans) are very willing to take part in a clinical study. So, why is there such a large discrepancy in the number of actual participants versus those willing to, but not actually participating?
Technology Networks recently had the pleasure of speaking with Tzvia Bader, co-founder and CEO of TrialJectory – an artificial intelligence (AI)-based cancer clinical trial matching platform. Bader explains the company's mission, discusses why the number of cancer patients enrolling in trials is so low, and highlights the impact TrialJectory can have on patients, physicians and pharma.
Laura Lansdowne (LL): For some of our readers less familiar with TrialJectory, could you tell us a little about the company mission and history?
Tzvia Bader (TB): I co-founded TrialJectory back in 2018, because cancer patients today face an impossible mission when it comes to finding advanced new treatment options that could help them to better manage their disease and improve their outcomes. Even though it’s been proven that patients who enroll in clinical trials have better outcomes, only a small fraction of the cancer population actually enrolls in a trial. Limited patient access, coupled with the extremely complicated matching and enrollment process, is a massive undertaking for cancer patients who are already trying to navigate their new reality alongside family and friends. Patients are completely dependent on the information that their oncologists offer, and most oncologists, due to their own lack of access to clinical trials and limited time, don't offer those life-saving treatments to their patients.
TrialJectory’s mission is to remove these barriers to advanced treatment options by allowing patients to leverage artificial intelligence to find the right clinical trial for them. From the clinical trial discovery process through the actual treatment, we are with patients every step of the way during their journey. In this way, patients can take back control of their health and feel empowered to become more actively involved in their treatment process from start to finish.
LL: What inspired you to co-found TrialJectory?
TB: Five years ago, I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, and I learned firsthand how important it is for cancer patients to get the type of care that they need and deserve. Unfortunately, the burden of cancer is affecting millions of Americans and their loved ones every day, and new cancer cases are on the rise, with a projected death toll of over 13 million by 2030. Suffice it to say, expanding access to advanced treatment options is needed now more than ever.
I decided to leverage my technology background to co-found TrialJectory so that we could be part of a real, lasting solution for cancer patients who are trying to find the best treatment possible for their unique needs. My inspiration comes from knowing that we are making each day count, changing the world for the better when it comes to healthcare. I tell my three daughters that their mom is working hard to build something new that not only gives me purpose but, more importantly, gives patients hope and inspiration for their own future.
LL: How does TrialJectory work?
TB: Think of TrialJectory as a platform that mimics the mind of an oncologist. Our artificial intelligence (AI)-based solution reads all unstructured treatment descriptions and extracts data that’s relevant to the patient’s medical profile. The engine then clusters, classifies and standardizes this information to create a unique database highlighting patient attributes that are required by clinical trials. Patients are matched to clinical trials through self-reported, dynamic questionnaire answers, and if the patient decides to further explore one or more of the matched trials, we facilitate all communication with the clinical trial lead, including document collection, appointment scheduling and more.
Today, we have over 6,000 clinical trials on our platform, with more being added each day. The platform currently supports trials for breast, colon, and bladder cancer, melanoma and myelodysplastic syndromes, with many more to come.
LL: Can you tell us more about the impact TrialJectory can have on physicians and pharma?
TB: One of the top obstacles that oncologists face today is the lack of clinical trial access for their patients, which is distressing since national guidelines support participation in clinical trials as the preferred treatment option for all cancer patients. Furthermore, approximately 85% of cancer patients in America today are being treated in a community oncology setting, and it is impossible for a single oncologist to be aware of all trials that match a patient's diagnosis.
This clear gap in the cancer treatment journey has created a problem that can be solved efficiently by AI. TrialJectory’s AI-based platform expands access to care for everyone, no matter where patients are located and at no cost to them. In this way, we are democratizing cancer care and empowering patients to take back control of their care, command their own health journey and, ultimately, find the best treatment with all the options at their fingertips.
In addition, since less than 5% of patients enroll in trials, recruiting qualified patients for trials is one of the greatest challenges for pharmaceutical companies. Overcoming this issue has the potential to bring new life-saving treatments to market more quickly and less expensively. Pharmaceutical companies are spending immense amounts of money on the research and development of new drugs, which cannot be commercialized until they go through clinical trials.
However, their inability to connect with, and enroll, the right patients not only increases the costs of development but also lengthens the time that it takes for these treatments to hit the market and become available to patients. Overall, it is estimated that the industry loses around $2 billion due to patient recruitment delays. TrialJectory is actively partnering with all sectors of the health industry to revolutionize the trial recruitment and engagement process as a whole, ultimately leading to reduced operational costs and expedited drugs’ time to market.
Tzvia Bader was speaking to Laura Elizabeth Lansdowne, Senior Science Writer for Technology Networks.