Nearly every oncologist uses the same guidelines to treat the 1.7 million US citizens diagnosed with cancer each year. These guidelines are produced by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a non-profit alliance of 32 cancer centers in the United States.
The NCCN guidelines represent the collective wisdom of how cancer should be treated in any given situation when selecting from current FDA-approved cancer treatments.
While oncologists have flexibility to prescribe any cancer drug that’s been approved for any type of cancer, they widely follow these guidelines knowing these treatments are acceptable and will be covered by health insurance.
However, in these same guidelines, the NCCN is very clear about clinical trials. They recommend all cancer patients be treated on a clinical trial.
This recommendation is not about advancing cancer research. It is strictly about the benefit to the patient.
On a trial, the patient will receive either the standard of care (following the NCCN guidelines) or an investigational treatment that is expected to improve upon the standard of care. Indeed, often trials offer the standard of care in combination with other drugs. Whatever treatment is provided, the patients receive this care in a treatment environment with greater focus, allocated physician time, and accountability.
So it is understandable why the NCCN states the following in bold letter on every single treatment-related page of the guidelines:
Clinical Trials: NCCN believes that the best management of any patient with cancer is in a clinical trial. Participation in clinical trials is especially encouraged.
Every. Single. Page.
And yet, most oncologists skip over this again and again because they have no clinical trial to offer. They have no tools to scour the country for clinical trials matching the patient. And they have a negative incentive to send the patient elsewhere for their care.
The system is failing cancer patients and we can see why, despite the NCCN recommending clinical trials for 100% of patients, only 3% of adult cancer patients participate. About 70% of cancer patients are open to clinical trials, but without being offered one directly by their current oncologist, they are unlikely to find and enroll in a trial on their own. Cancer is so serious and complex that it is nearly impossible to question your oncologist’s recommendations.
This problem is hindering the pace of cancer innovations and the adoption of new treatment approaches. Trials are delayed and canceled when appropriate patients cannot be found. Billions are inefficiently spent on patient recruitment.
But the worst part is the fate of the cancer patients. Many patients are facing treatments that carry severe side effects with little promise of cure or durable benefit. In many cases, more advanced treatments are available.
This is why Sagely Health exists. It is our mission to ensure every cancer patient achieves their best possible outcome.
Over the last 8 years, we’ve developed proprietary technology to take existing clinical trial data and with a deep understanding of the underlying science, meticulously match patients to the clinical trials and oncologists that can provide the best possible care.
In an internal study of 100 patients we’ve guided, we found our recommendations worked. In 89% of cases, the patient enrolled in a clinical trial or had another significant change to their treatment plan.
Our patients are living longer. Eighty-eight percent have already outlived their expected survival. On average, patients have lived 2 years beyond their documented expected survival. As we continue to monitor still-living patients, we expect this number to go up. Our patients enroll in clinical trials 30% of the time — 10 times that of the national average.
Having achieved these results with our technology and methodology, we are now expanding our service to reach more cancer patients and we’re hoping to bring our story to the world and raise awareness of the benefit of clinical trials for cancer patients.
If you know anyone that would benefit from our service or you know anyone that could help us raise awareness in the media, please contact us.