Cancer patients hoping to be part of a clinical trial for a new therapy often have difficulty locating and applying for such trials, while the contract research organizations (CROs) managing the trials often have difficulty recruiting patients.
Belong.Life, an Israeli-founded group of patient communities and care platforms, is making clinical trial matching and recruitment easier with the launch of Tara, a conversational AI cancer clinical trial matching platform.
Tara is a chatbot that conversationally requests essential information including diagnosis, cancer type, mutation and treatment history. It can even scan relevant medical files to collect comprehensive information to assist with clinical trial matching.
Available as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for providers, hospitals, health systems, CROs and other organizations, the technology can be embedded into websites, mobile apps or text messaging platforms.
“We are dedicated to creating effective and responsible AI solutions that are tailored to the unique needs and challenges of the healthcare industry,” said Irad Deutsch, cofounder and CTO of Belong.Life.
“Tara is a comprehensive solution that provides patients with empathetic and precise support while enabling providers to engage in new effective ways to meet their goals.”
Following the user’s conversation with Tara, a summary is sent to the Belong clinical trial matching team, which uses additional machine learning and natural language processing algorithms to analyze all available cancer clinical trials around the globe in real time to match patients based on their unique situation and geographical location.
The customizable platform also allows health systems to direct patients to inhouse resources and clinical trials. Patients are generally matched to relevant clinical trials within three days and can be connected directly to managing sites.
According to Belong.Life, there are currently more than 136,000 clinical trials available in the United States but existing databases are hard to navigate, and participation criteria are often difficult to decipher, making it challenging for patients to identify relevant trials.
Additionally, many patients don’t know that clinical trials are an option. A study published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology found that 46% of surveyed oncology patients were not aware that clinical trials may be a viable option.
“Clinical trial participation is an important treatment option for cancer patients, sometimes the only option, and crucial for medical advancement,” said Dr. Raanan Berger, director of the Jusidman Cancer Center at Sheba Medical Center.
“The process of finding relevant trials for patients can be long and complex, often requiring supplementary assistance alongside the primary care provided by oncologists. Belong’s technology is well positioned to make a positive impact on patients, providers and the wider healthcare ecosystem by facilitating broader access to potentially lifesaving treatments.”
Tara is the second product in Belong’s AI Health Mentor suite of solutions, following the launch of Dave, the world’s first conversational AI oncology mentor, in May. Dave, has already received engagement from hundreds of thousands of cancer patients and caregivers, according to Belong.Life.
Belong’s oncology app, Belong Beating Cancer Together, provides support groups, access to medical professionals, customized educational content, and disease management tools, including a digital medical binder and clinical trial matching service.