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A New Model for Cancer Care

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The Kew Group, a new startup company in Massachusetts, is setting up a network of clinics throughout the US to treat cancer patients in a new way, says Technology Review's Emily Singer. Researchers are continually uncovering new ways to help clinicians estimate a patient's prognosis, but not enough clinicians use these discoveries on a regular basis, says Jeff Elton, Kew's co-founder. The new company aims to change how cancer care is delivered by establishing clinics that will "implement new software to help oncologists there choose the right diagnostic tests ... and treatments for individual patients," Singer says. The model is based on academic medical centers, which are usually the first to integrate new genomics discoveries into the care of their patients. However, about 70 to 85 percent of cancer patients don't seek treatment at academic centers, Singer adds, and can miss out on new approaches. Kew co-founder Raju Kucherlapati says Kew's goal is to change that. "The company is creating a software platform that would help physicians use an increasingly complex array of molecular tests for cancer patients. Boards of oncologists and pathologists that specialize in specific organs or specific molecular pathways will update the recommendations with new discoveries," Singer says. "Because the same platform will be implemented across its network of clinics, Kew will be able to collect large volumes of data, which can be mined to determine what treatments work best, what are most cost-effective, and whether physicians are following protocol."

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