Yesterday marked the launch of Driver, a mobile app designed to link cancer patients to appropriate treatment or relevant clinical trials. The app boasts a network of more than 30 global cancer centers, including the US National Cancer Institute, the Cleveland Clinic, and the Chinese National Cancer Center.
"In a world of Amazon, Airbnb, and other technology platforms that have revolutionized our ability to access products and services, consumers deserve the same transformative power of these next-generation marketplaces when they are facing cancer and require treatment," Dr. William R. Polkinghorn, cofounder and CEO of Driver as well as a radiation oncologist formerly on the faculty of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said in a statement.
Cofounded in 2015 by Polkinghorn and the company’s president, Dr. Petros Giannikopoulos, San Francisco and Shanghai-based Driver’s goal is to more quickly and conveniently connect cancer patients to care. Comprised of a patient-facing app and another for the doctor, the service asks users to upload their medical records and tumor tissue samples. Using these, the service recommends patients a list of their best treatment options, whether that be guideline-based standard care or an enrolling clinical trial.
After consulting with a doctor recommended by the app, Driver is able to schedule and manage an appointment at one of the care centers participating in the Driver Global Network. Following treatment, the platform can also help patients manage their aftercare by adjusting care plans when necessary, regular check-ins from a Driver nurse, and reintroduction to care should the cancer resurface.
"We are in the midst of a revolution in our understanding of cancer, which has yielded an unprecedented number of new treatment strategies, and this revolution is unfolding across the world, and increasingly in China," Dr. Alan Ashworth, president of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and a member of Driver's scientific advisory board, said in a statement. "Yet many patients, and physicians for that matter, are unaware of all of their options. A new technology platform that endeavors to give patients access to all of their options by definition needs to be global to not only help patients today, but also accelerate progress in clinical research for future patients everywhere.”
Driver is primarily backed by Horizons Ventures, alongside which the company has built up its Chinese platform in parallel to its US-based service. Currently both Driver’s active treatment and post-treatment offerings are enrolling customers on a waitlist, and ask a lump purchase fee as well as a monthly subscription.