A new platform for connecting cancer patients to the best treatments, called Driver, has been launched in the United States and China. The service enables patients, anywhere in the world, to access treatment options across an “unprecedented network of cancer centers without leaving home.”
Although there has never been more cancer treatments available, patients and their doctors are unaware of all of the options, and consequently patients are not living as long as they could given the treatments that exist today. Driver’s platform aims to eliminate this knowledge gap, empowering patients to access the best treatments all over the world.
The US National Cancer Institute and the Chinese National Cancer Center are the founding members of Driver’s global network; also, the network includes more than thirty leading cancer centers — like the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of California San Francisco, University of California Los Angeles, Duke, University of North Carolina, and Emory.
“In a world of Amazon, Airbnb, and other technology platforms that have revolutionized our ability to access products and services, consumers deserve the same transformative power of these next-generation marketplaces when they are facing cancer and require treatment,” said Dr. William R. Polkinghorn, Co-founder and CEO of Driver, and a radiation oncologist formerly on the faculty of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Driver’s goal is to occupy the empty space between the patient and the hospital. Patients join the platform using a mobile app, through which Driver obtains consent to acquire the necessary information, such as medical records and tumor samples, to connect them to their best treatment options.
The patient receives treatment options for both guideline-based standard of care and clinical trials available through Driver’s network. Patients have the opportunity to review their treatment options over video with an expert oncologist, and then can select a hospital within the Driver network for further evaluation. Driver arranges the appointment at each patient’s hospital of choice and delivers their records and other information required for the evaluation.
“While great advances have been made in personalizing cancer treatments in recent years, many patients are unaware of all of their options,” said Dr. Keith Flaherty, Director of the Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies at Massachusetts General Hospital, a member of the Driver network. “Driver’s approach could revolutionize the way that treatment options are presented to patients at essential junctions in their care.”
To extract the information from patients’ records and tumor samples, Driver’s platform utilizes a combination of proprietary software and hardware, including two automated clinical laboratories, one in San Francisco and a second in Shantou, China — both of which are certified under the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) program, and accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the gold standard in laboratory accreditation.
Driver validated its treatment matching software in collaboration with the US National Cancer Institute. Its lead investor is Horizons Ventures (Li Ka Shing), and it happens to be the first technology platform to co-launch in the United States and China.