There's an App for Colon Cancer

Colon cancer patients have access to decision making tool

(RxWiki News) One of the really tough things about receiving a cancer diagnosis is not knowing what to do next. You don't even know what you don't know.

A new online program offers advanced cancer patients and their doctors the latest disease information they can share and use for customized treatment planning.

The College of American Pathologists (CAP) has partnered with CollabRx to give patients with advanced colon cancer access to an interactive program that provides information about various tests, treatments and clinical trials best suited for them.

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This is the latest Therapy Finder that takes a patient's specific disease information to chart a course for personalized information. The Colorectal Cancer app is available through the CAP website and

Therapy Finder apps are also available for lung cancer and melanoma.

The intent of this sophisticated program is to help patients share and participate in their treatment decision-making in a knowledgeable and meaningful way. 

"“With advances in genomics, we now have a greater understanding of the genetic profile of a patient’s tumor and know that cancer is no longer a one size fits all disease,” said Stanley J Robboy, MD, FCAP, president of the CAP and pathology professor and vice chair for Faculty Affairs at Duke University.

“Our partnership with CollabRx will put this valuable information into the hands of patients and hopefully lead to better patient outcomes," Dr. Robboy said.

These apps have been described as a marriage of information and scientific expertise that let the doctor/patient team identify specific diagnostic tests and clinical trials associated with therapies that "target" specific characteristics of a patient's tumor profile.

“We developed the apps so patients can seek optimal treatments, not based on their zip codes, but on the molecular zip codes of their tumors,” said James M. Karis, chief executive officer of CollabRx.

So a patient interacts with these apps by entering all the information they know about their cancer, including stage, treatment history, status of genetic mutations, and where if and where the cancer has spread.

Based on this information, the program then provides personalized next steps which could diagnostic tests, clinical trials and potential drugs. All this information is based on peer-reviewed medical and scientific content.

dailyRx asked CollabRx, George Lundberg, MD, the editor-in-chief for CollabRx and a board-certified pathologist, to discuss how he envisions patients using this app.

"Some patients do not wish to study or even be consulted about their alternatives of treatment; they want the doctor to decide. That is partly a culture thing and partly an education thing. But, increasingly, health savvy and internet savvy patients insist on participating in key decisions about their care," Dr. Lundberg said.

"The future of informed American medicine is physicians practicing patient-centered care and sharing in key decision with informed patients. Patients should feel empowered to take charge of their health; after all, it is their health. Our CollabRx Molecular Disease Models and the Apps that are based upon that science are perfectly tailored to facilitate such shared decision-making in some of the most complicated clinical situations imaginable," Dr. Lundberg explained.

He added that patients can tell their physicians about the App and ask if the two of them can go through it together.

“Pathologists are gathering and interpreting molecular diagnostic information which has a significant clinical impact to patients and their oncologists,” said Douglas Blayney, MD, medical director Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, Calif., member of CollabRx editorial advisory board “The partnership with the CAP demonstrates another example of the collaboration between pathologists and oncologists to empower patients with resources to make informed decisions about their health.”

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Review Date: 
April 17, 2012