February 03, 2022
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths (one in six people), according to figures from the World Health Organization. Every year, over 1.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer in the US alone.
Cancer is one of the most heavily invested areas of medical research. Over $5 billion is spent each year, yet most studies are confined to the clinical viewpoint, focusing on the disease but not the patient and thereby limited in scope.
To mark World Cancer Day on February 4, NoCamels is highlighting three researchers using innovative strategies developed in Israel to focus on cancer therapy that will benefit the patient.
Dr. Daniel Vorobiof – Developing strategies with anonymous cancer patient data
Oncologist Dr. Daniel Vorobiof did his internship and residency at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, and after an eight-year stint in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he founded the Sandton Oncology Centre, he’s back in Israel as the Chief Medical Director of Belong.Life, an Israeli company founded in 2014 by Eliran Malki, current CEO, Irad Deutsch, current-CTO, and Ohad Rubin, current COO. The company does a different kind of cancer therapy — the kind that uses machine learning and AI to provide cancer patients with a social network and mobile app to navigate the difficult experience of dealing with cancer.
Belong’s anonymous patient data collected from its Beating Cancer Together app provides an integral contribution to cancer research. “The app’s high patient engagement levels create a large volume of important real-world data points which are not usually collected in regular electronic health records,” he tells NoCamels.
The company’s innovations “will always first take into consideration the needs of every cancer patient. There are specific cancer indications that are more common than others, and patients diagnosed with them can easily obtain information within Belong’s apps, as well as from other sources. But there are some less investigated and less supported cancer disease areas, and we have begun investigating those patient populations. As a result of this initiative, we have recently opened a specialized group for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) which has been very enthusiastically received by the global CML community. This will be followed by other groups in the near future, which are under development at the moment,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Dr. Vorobiof says the company is “open to any future research projects and ideas that doctors or allied disciplines might have in diverse cancer areas. Suggested research might be related to a variety of situations, including appropriate nutrition, the use of complementary or alternative therapies, physical exercise, side effects, mental health, or anything else related to the management of cancer patients.”