Driver launches platform in China, US to match patients with cancer treatment options

Driver announced Thursday the launch of its technology platform in China and the US, which is designed to allow patients to access treatment options across a wide network of cancer centres. CEO William Polkinghorn remarked "consumers deserve the same transformative power of…next-generation marketplaces when they are facing cancer and require treatment."

According to Driver, patients pay $3000 to join its platform using a mobile app, through which the company obtains consent to acquire the necessary information, including medical records and tumour samples, to connect them to their best treatment options. The platform uses the company's own software and hardware, including two automated clinical laboratories located in the US and China, to extract the information. Driver noted that patients subsequently receive "treatment options for both guideline-based standard of care and clinical trials" available through its network, in around two weeks.

The company explained that patients are able to review their treatment options over video with an oncologist, and can then select a hospital within the Driver network for further evaluation. "In 2018, cancer patients are still required to enter a brick-and-mortar hospital and interact with a doctor just to learn their treatment options," commented Driver president Petros Giannikopoulos, adding "this is a problem because different hospitals have different treatments, different doctors have different knowledge, and consequently too many patients fail to receive the best available treatment."

Polkinghorn further noted that "there is an air gap between knowledge and patients that has existed in cancer care since the 1850s. We want to close that space." The US National Cancer Institute and the Chinese National Cancer Center are the founding members of Driver's global network, while more than 30 other cancer centres are members, including the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic.

However, Joseph Kim, Eli Lilly's senior adviser in Clinical Development Innovation, cautioned that not all patients may want to be more active in treatment decisions. "In Asia, decision-making can also be a lot more paternalistic as patients have the tendency to defer to and rely on the doctor," Kim remarked.

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