Cancer App:

Led by research scientist Natarajan Ganesan, a new cancer app, CancerStop, has been launched that links up the user with not so readily available yet very relevant information. (LinkedIn photo)

The makers of CancerStop, a research nonprofit that is dedicated to promoting and advancing scientific research and innovation in natural and life sciences, and led by Indian American Natarajan Ganesan, has launched new cancer app.

The app, instead of offering boilerplates of what is pretty much out there, links up the user with not so readily available yet very relevant information, according to a news release.

Ganesan, a researcher with Flora Coating in Phoenix, Arizona, told India-West in an email the inspiration of the app came following a tragedy.

“When I saw my near and dear succumb to this dreaded disease I saw that the questions asked by them and their decision enablers (their family and friends) had very little access to relevant resources when the treatment was being given,” he explained. “The internet was too cluttered with extraneous and distracting information and there were no apps that actually addressed the issues in a relevant way.

“I have been a cancer researcher for the better part of my research life,” he continued. “I decided to cull together some highly relevant sources together in one place and present them to patients so that they are well equipped to make relevant decisions or at least be aware of the what the treatment is going to mean.”

Some examples include quick links to FDA approved drugs for a given cancer, ongoing clinical trials, mutation prognostics, it said.

All information is sourced from public sites like the NCBI, NCI, Clinicaltrials.gov and more. The app is currently available only in the Google Play Store, the release added.

Since it launched, hundreds of users have downloaded the app, Ganesan notes.

“It has spread on its own by word of mouth,” he said, adding, “I would like to see this spread to a wider base where it could be useful.”

Additionally, the user has to just select the type of cancer (currently about 10) and is then immediately provided a link to search for gene names and mutations, as obtained from sequencing results, and their possible outlook in terms of prognosis; an interactive survival chart (age at diagnosis); a curated search engine with links to medical literature and more; a direct link to ongoing and relevant clinical trials; and listing approved cancer drugs.

The app tries to connect the user to relevant information sources when moving forward from the time-point of diagnosis, it said.

"For example, a user typically may want to know if there are any relevant clinical trials that are available out there or if a reported genetic mutation has any better scope or what is the word out there for a chemotherapeutic drug that has just been prescribed,” Ganesan, one of the creators of the app, said.

A biomedical researcher by training and profession, Ganesan found that real-life scenarios often demand answers more than just knowing the generics like – what is cancer or who is at risk, or what an oncoming clinical test is going to involve. 

"Some may want an answer to questions that no one likes to ask – how much time do I have?” Ganesan added.

Such questions emerge only as one goes along the journey of a cure.

"Answers to these questions are not so readily available to a user, or are lost in the pages of a web search," he added further.

The long-term goal, Ganesan said in the email to India-West, is “to expand the services to include more types of cancers, make the genetic testing portion of the app more robust to incorporate precision medicine and genomics.”

Ganesan noted that the app, which is an offering by research nonprofit Queromatics, is in need for funding to expand the project further, which would “enable us to have full-time developers and researchers.”

The app tries to link the user directly to valuable information resources and help them get acquainted with things to come.

The app does not claim to make any assertions and merely wishes to provide information as-is in the public databases, the release notes.

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