New Online Tools Help Colon Cancer Patients Find Personalized Treatment
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Posted by: Emily Mullin
It is normal for patients with a chronic disease to feel
overwhelmed and confused about the treatment options available to them.
For colon cancer patients, treatment decisions can be
especially difficult and daunting, especially since the five-year survival rate
can be a little as 6 percent.
To help ease the burden of choosing a therapy plan or
clinical trial that fits the needs of individual patients, the College of
American Pathologists in partnership with the health IT firm CollabRx to roll
out the Therapy Finder: Colorectal Cancer website application as well as a new
patient portal, MyBiopsy.org, which will help patients find personalized
information on cancer therapies.
"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 Dr. Stanley J. Robboy, president
of the College of American Pathologists and pathology professor at Duke
University in Durham, N.C.
The two online tools are free and work by matching a
patient’s genetics, disease history and demographics to drug and clinical trial
Therapy Finder is constantly updated with new information
and treatment options so that it enables physicians and patients to better
identify diagnostic tests and clinical trials associated with therapies that
"target" the unique genetic profiles of patients' tumors. The
developers of the app say it is meant to support and enable patient
empowerment, engagement and participation in discussing and creating a
personalized cancer treatment plan.
User can input information about their disease – including the
stage, treatment history, status of genetic mutations known to have implications
for treatment, and sites of metastasis, if any. Therapy Finder then provides
personalized therapy-related options, based on peer-reviewed medical and
scientific content that may be of use to the patient, caregiver and physician,
such as identification of potential drugs, diagnostics, and clinical trials
that may be useful in the specific form of colorectal cancer selected.
"Cancer patients frequently have limited knowledge of
the growing number of medical tests and therapies available and relevant to
them," said Charles Roussel, chief executive officer for the College of American
Pathologists also helped develop the award-winning patient
portal, MyBiopsy.org, where the Therapy Finder app is located. The site offers
credible information and resources on more than 40 different cancers and
cancer-related diseases – including colon, lung, and skin cancer – to help
cancer patients and their loved ones better understand their diagnoses.
Visitors to the site also can find tips on how to read a pathology report and
stories from cancer survivors.