AI and the power of community combine to help cancer patients globally

Belong.life, creator of the world’s largest social and professional network for cancer patients, recently launched a dedicated platform for people with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). Health Tech World speaks to chief medical director Dr. Daniel Vorobiof to find out more.

HTW: How did the community for CML patients come about?
DV: Our dedicated CML community came about after numerous requests from patients and caregivers to create a space specific to this disease.

Chronic myeloid leukaemia, also known as chronic myelogenous leukaemia, is a slow-progressing cancer that originates in the bone marrow, typically affecting older adults, and comprises about 15% of new leukemia diagnoses in the U.S.

How will the tool enhance engagement and real-life treatment journeys for users?

CML and the treatment experiences of patients with this disease change over time. Our CML Tracker is an innovative tool that allows patients to keep track of their symptoms over the course of their disease and treatment.

Our users can keep a record of their experiences living with CML and treatment journeys, providing them with useful information they can share with their doctor for more productive conversations. This tool is to enhance the ongoing engagement between patients and their medical teams.

Eventually, we hope to gather the anonymous insights from this patient user base to contribute towards global research focused on this disease, with the ultimate goal of improving CML patients’ quality of life.

How does the AI work?

Belong’s AI technology digests de-identified patient information by analysing various data sources such as documents, chats, and other patient information. The algorithms then capture the data points from that information, creating an anonymous profile for each patient, making sense of the patient journey.

The data help us uncover key trends and hidden patterns through observing patient journeys, allowing us to use these insights to contribute toward global cancer research studies.

In addition to this, our system collects hundreds of different types of data points, using it to find our users relevant clinical trials. Our advanced AI technology uses machine learning and clinical trial-specific NLP algorithms to analyse all available trials around the globe in real-time from databases such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI).

The technology then processes the patient’s medical information and verifies the relevance of clinical trials in the database for that specific patient, finally producing a list of trials specific to their condition that can be taken to their doctor or medical team to discuss.

What happens with the patient data you collect?

The anonymised data aggregated from the Beating Cancer Together app provides us with rich data points that are generally not available in other settings.

This data, along with anonymous surveys taken with the app, have been the basis of many cancer studies that have been presented at the prestigious ASCO and ESMO conferences.

These studies consist of a range of topics such as financial toxicity in cancer patients, the effects of cancer on the sexuality of patient and partner, patients’ understanding of clinical trials and, recently, on the effects of the COVID-19 vaccine on cancer patients.

Many of our cancer research projects are generic and involve research in areas of our own interest.  Others are motivated by external investigators who use Belong’s platform to run surveys and  analyse the anonymized data to investigate interesting topics and specific patient journeys, which is not always possible in other academic settings.

What’s next for Belong.life?

Belong.life will continue to develop and improve its Beating Cancer Together app with new features to support and guide patients affected by cancer and their families and caregivers.

We are also expanding BelongMS, which is the largest network available for multiple sclerosis patients, as well as our IBD platform for patients living with Crohn’s and colitis and our psoriasis platform—both currently available in select countries. Other platforms are in development and will be released during 2022. 

Dr. Daniel Vorobiof is a renowned oncologist and the chief medical director of Belong.Life. He is the founder and former medical director of the Sandton Oncology Centre in Johannesburg and has published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles in international medical journals.

Go to the original article at Health Teck World

Belong.Life is a leading global tech provider of high-engagement patient communities and care platforms, supporting millions of patients worldwide.

Among Belong.Life’s brands are the world’s largest social and professional networks for cancer patients (Belong – Beating Cancer Together) and multiple sclerosis patients (BelongMS), as well as i-Belong, BelongIBD, BelongPSOCoronApp (select countries), and more.

Belong.Life’s mission is to improve quality of life and quality of care worldwide through technology, engagement, data, and AI.

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