May182017

Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation Awards $180,000 Clinical Trial Innovation Prize

Posted by Kassy Perry

ALCF logoTwo winners will be awarded a total of $180,000 for the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) Clinical Trial Innovation Prize, an international crowdsourcing challenge seeking innovative ways to increase cancer patient enrollment in clinical trials.

“Using crowdsourcing, we tapped into a vast pool of people from varying backgrounds and expertise from all over the world,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a 13-year lung cancer survivor and ALCF founder. “The goal of the challenge is to produce breakthroughs that will double the patient accrual rate of clinical trials evaluating interventions in the diagnosis and treatment of all cancers. One of our winners is from New York, the other team is from Australia.”

The first and second prize winners were selected by a panel of judges with diverse sectors of the healthcare industry.

First Place: The panel awarded $100,000 to Samir Housri and Nadine Housri who developed theMednet, a social network for physicians, to share information about clinical trials to physicians in an engaging way.

“With 78 percent of patients saying their doctors are the most trusted source for information on clinical trials, but only 14 percent of doctors ever discussing trials with patients, improving physician awareness about trials on the Mednet.org could have the most impact on driving enrollment,” Housri said. “theMednet.org is a question and answer platform for doctors and a natural place to promote trials.”

Second Place: The other winners are Judith Trotman and Roslyn Ristuccia of Australia who developed the app ClinTrial Refer, which increases the cross-referral of patients between hospitals by enhancing doctors’ knowledge of current trials. The use of this app has increased trial recruitment by more than 50 percent. ClinTrial Refer enhances  communication among oncologists, trial units and potential patients.

“The ClinTrial Refer app allows networks of trial units to collaborate and contribute current listings about recruiting trials. The app is free to download and becomes the clinician’s best resource,” Trotman said. “The main barrier to improving recruitment is doctors knowing where and how to refer patients. Now they can look up current information within seconds, during a consultation visit. Patients can gather the knowledge they need for decisions on all available treatment options at www.clintrial.org.au.”

An estimated one in two men and one in three women in the United States will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, however only four percent of adult cancer patients enroll in clinical trials. Unfortunately, researchers will never complete more than 20 percent of these trials due to not enough patients enrolling into clinical trials, as many are unaware of the benefits a clinical trial may provide, or that a clinical trial might even be a treatment option.

“The unique aspect of this crowdsourcing challenge is that the ALCF mentored the applicants for six months while they were collecting data on whether their ideas did in fact change clinical trial patient accrual,” said Addario. “ALCF also provided applicants access to the resources they needed to test and implement their ideas.”

The first phase of the Clinical Trial Innovation Prize, or the Ideation phase, focused on innovators sharing creative and novel ideas on how to double the accrual rate of cancer clinical trials. More than 100 innovators and 14 teams participated in the challenge from all over the world, with submissions coming in from Israel, Nigeria, Germany, India, the United States and 13 other countries. The first and second prize winners were selected by a panel of judges with varying backgrounds in the healthcare industry.

Judges awarded these projects:

First Prize: Match Point: Matching Patients and Trials Via EHR,” submitted by Helynx, a start-up out of Caltech, UCLA and Harvard, and Dr. Jae Kim, a cardiothoracic surgeon at City of Hope. The trio created a unique system for automatically matching patients to the clinical trials for which they qualify using machine learning techniques to read patients’ Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to determine eligibility. The winning entry received $20,000.

Second Prize: Fast, Fun & Friendly: Build Trust Before Research,” submitted by Drs. Matt Gerber and Deanna Teoh of the Gynecologic Oncology Department at the University of Minneapolis, created an individualized Welcome App that details the arc of care a patient will receive as well a clear and succinct message about clinical research and its benefits. Gerber and Teoh’s idea won their team $5,000.

For more information about the Innovation Prize, please visit ALCF’s website.

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About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating Lung Cancer through research, early detection, education, and treatment. The Foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors, and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006 as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised more than $30 million for lung cancer research and related programs. For more information about the ALCF please visit www.lungcancerfoundation.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

ABOUT HEROX
Founded in 2013, HeroX exists at the intersection of crowdsourcing, competition and collaboration. The HeroX crowdsourcing platform brings together global communities of problem solvers to deliver breakthrough solutions to social, economic, and strategic challenges.