AI-Powered Clinical Trial Tool Connects Young, Underserved Patients With CRC to Treatments and Research

October 24, 2020
Hayley Virgil
Hayley Virgil

Senior Editor, OncLive®
Hayley Virgil heads OncLive's feature article efforts and specializes in social issues and equality in oncology. Prior to joining the company in early 2020, she worked as an editor in numerous industries, including media, marketing, hospitality, and computer science, and freelanced in subjects such as history, culture, and the natural sciences.

The artificial intelligence–powered platform Clinical Trial Finder, which stemmed from a collaboration between the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and the digital health company TrialJectory, could prove beneficial for younger patients with colorectal cancer and for those who are being treated at community cancer centers.

The artificial intelligence (AI)–powered platform Clinical Trial Finder, which stemmed from a collaboration between the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and the digital health company TrialJectory, could prove beneficial for younger patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) and for those who are being treated at community cancer centers, according to preliminary results.1

Since the web-based platform's launch in October 2019, more than 550 patients with CRC have been connected with relevant clinical trials that fit their disease profile. Among those who used the platform, 70% are being treated in community cancer centers, only 10% of which typically offer clinical trials as a treatment option for patients.

Additionally, results showed that 35% of patients under the age of 50 years use the platform. Based on this finding, the Clinical Trial Finder could be a valuable opportunity to provide better access to advanced treatments and better care options, the organizations stated.1

“Our Clinical Trial Finder has been a powerful resource for the colorectal cancer patient community. Younger patients are experiencing symptoms and being diagnosed earlier in life, and this tool leads to greater empowerment in their cancer journey,” Michael Sapienza, CEO of Colorectal Cancer Alliance, said.1 “Having the trial finder right at their fingertips has transformed their treatment journeys, as it removes barriers to accessing advanced new treatment options that are available today.

Although major research hospitals are capable of offering patients with cancer novel and effective treatment options through clinical trials, younger patients and those who are treated primarily through community cancer centers may not be afforded the same opportunities, the organizations stated.1

The platform utilizes a series of questions in order to help customize and populate a list of clinical cancer trials that are relevant to patients across disease stages. The Clinical Trial Finder's AI, created by TrialJectory, is able to curate, structure, and personalize data and literature produced from clinical cancer research and guide patients to an appropriate clinical trial. The platform is also capable of connecting those with clinical trial specialists who can help to provide patients with support as they apply, enroll, and participate in such studies.

While CRC incidence and mortality rates have notably declined in patients older than 55 years, findings published in JCO Oncology Practice noted an opposite trend in adolescent and young adults.2 The adjusted incidence rate of colon cancer over the past 40 years has increased by 2.4% in individuals between that ages of 20 years and 29 years, 1.0% in individuals between 30 years and 39 years, and by 1.3% in patients between 40 to 49 years.

Rectal cancer saw a similar jump in adjusted incidence rates, with an increase of 3.2% from 1974 to 2013 in adults age 20 to 29 years and since 1980 in adults aged 30 to 39 years. The incidence rate increased by 2.3% per year since the early 1990s in those aged 40 to 49 years.3

Based on the current projection of incidence rates, it's possible that by 2030, the incidence of colon cancer and rectal cancer in patients between the ages of 20 years and 34 years will increase by 90.0% and 124.2%, respectively.4

“Combining the Alliance’s efforts to educate the community with TrialJectory’s technology is something that cancer patients in every part of the country are demanding,” Sapienza concluded.1 “Especially in the new world of COVID-19, it’s critical that we meet that demand for our community.”

Reference

  1. The Alliance and TrialJectory Report on Collaboration to Improve Access to Advanced Cancer Treatment. News release. Colorectal Cancer Alliance. September 14, 2020. Accessed October 1, 2020. https://bit.ly/2HrywmA
  2. You YN, Lee LD, Deschner BW, et al. Colorectal cancer in the adolescent and young adult population. JCO Oncol Practice. 2020;16(1):19-27. doi:10.1200/JOP.19.00153
  3. Siegel RL, Fedewa SA, Anderson WF, et al. Colorectal cancer incidence patterns in the United States, 1974-2013. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017;109(8):djw322. doi:10.1093/jnci/djw322Bailey CE, Hu VY, You, YN, et al. Increasing disparities in age-related incidence of colon and rectal cancer in the United States, 1975-2010. JAMA Surg. 2015;150(1):17-22. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2014.1756.

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