Volunteer Spotlight: Connor Sweetnam Captures Valuable Treatment Insights from ASK Cancer Commons


Volunteers are essential members of the Cancer Commons community. We are deeply grateful to those who have generously donated their time to helping us change the way the world treats cancer.

This month, we celebrate the contributions of Cancer Commons volunteer Connor Sweetnam, who uses his engineering background to extract insights from our interactions with patients so they can be leveraged to help other patients. To learn more about his work, I interviewed Connor via email.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I am the oldest of three boys and have come to call the Bay Area home. I graduated with a degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Southern California in May 2016 and now work as the Facilities Assistant for a cancer immunotherapy start-up named Alexo Therapeutics. I thoroughly enjoy reading, building things, watching college football, sports, snowboarding, backpacking, scuba diving, and traveling. As a next step, I’m thinking of going to graduate school in a field related to biotechnology or engineering.

How did you find out about Cancer Commons, and what made you want to volunteer? Continue reading…


Cancer Commons Participates in Lively Discussion of Precision Medicine at PMWC 2017


Update 3-1-17: A video of this event has now been released. Watch it below.

This year’s Precision Medicine World Conference in Mountain View, California, was well-attended by many members of Cancer Commons, who shared in the scientific discoveries that will lead the way to more personalized, accurate, and effective cancer care. Precision medicine is a rapidly evolving field with many breakthroughs in science, technology, and diagnosis that is transforming the way cancer care is practiced at the bedside.

A special session was co-chaired by Cancer Commons board member Larry Marton and Lincoln Nadauld, director of the personalized oncology program at Intermountain Healthcare in Utah. The session also featured Cancer Commons medical director Kevin Knopf, Mountain View oncologist Edmund Tai, and Tim Collins, who is corporate vice president of operations and research at Scripps Health in San Diego. Continue reading…


Cancer Commons Community Member Spotlight: Brit d’Arbeloff


One of Cancer Commons’ earliest and most generous supporters, Brit d’Arbeloff, is a woman of many talents who is dedicated to excellence in education. She is the first woman to earn an undergraduate mechanical engineering degree at Stanford University. In addition, she was the owner of a fashion boutique in Boston for over a decade. She also earned a graduate degree at MIT, where Marty Tenenbaum, founder and CEO of Cancer Commons, is also an alum, and where the two first met.

“The work being done by Cancer Commons is extremely important,” says Brit, whose late husband Alex was diagnosed with glioblastoma. “Cancer is not one disease but a multitude of them, and the number of treatment options using various combinations of drugs and therapies is increasing rapidly. The result is a data problem that Cancer Commons is uniquely prepared to solve with its highly qualified and experienced team of computer scientists and cancer experts.” Continue reading…


Thank You to Our 2016 Donors!


Everyone at Cancer Commons is very thankful for the outpouring of support that we received in 2016. As a nonprofit organization, we rely entirely on donations to provide cancer treatment decision support at no charge. These contributions have allowed Cancer Commons to respond to over 1,500 requests for help and will allow us to develop innovative technology to help many others in the months ahead.

Last year, our beloved 217 donors contributed over $1,391,000. This reflects double-digit growth in both the number of donors and total dollars raised. As a young organization, Cancer Commons is still growing. It’s validating to see that support is growing along with us, but we still have a long way to go and many more cancer patients to help.

We are grateful for major gifts of $10,000 or more from the following individuals and organizations: Continue reading…


Press Release: Sheri Sobrato Brisson and Eric Brisson Join Cancer Commons to Find Better Treatment Options for Children with Brain Cancer

Sheri Sobrato Brisson (Photo by Irene Searles for InMenlo.com; used
with permission)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Los Altos, California – January 25, 2017 – Cancer Commons, a nonprofit network of physicians, scientists and patients dedicated to helping each patient achieve the best possible outcome, announces the launch of a new program to identify personalized treatment options for children with brain cancer. The program is funded by a generous lead gift from Sheri Sobrato Brisson, a pediatric brain tumor survivor and advocate for children with serious illness, and her husband Eric Brisson.

“We are motivated to help children with brain cancer by giving their physicians and families access to the best treatment plans,” shares Sheri Sobrato Brisson. “Diagnosis is a frightening time, and patients and their families need help to quickly sort through vast, confusing amounts of information to assure them that they are making the best possible choices.” Continue reading…


Announcing the November $100,000 Matching Gift Challenge

This month, every donation we receive will be matched by a few generous, anonymous donors.

Help the next patient receive the options that they need by joining the Cancer Commons family of donors.

Your philanthropic support allows us to provide treatment options at no charge. It also allows us to develop an online community knowledge base that will transform cancer care. By learning from every patient, we will optimize and expand the use of available treatments far more efficiently than traditional trials and rapidly improve options for all patients with advanced cancer.

Click here to make a donation.


Interview with Medical Director Kevin Knopf

In a new interview, oncologist and Cancer Commons Medical Director Dr. Kevin Knopf gives his perspective on the future of cancer research and treatment, including the role of Cancer Commons. He also discusses the potential benefits of value frameworks, which are tools that take a variety of factors into account in order to aid treatment decisions.

Read the full interview here.


ASK Cancer Commons Sees 500 Percent Surge in Weekly New Users

Since September 1, 2016, the weekly number of new patients and caregivers seeking help through our ASK Cancer Commons service has increased by about 500%, compared to previous months. This surge occurred organically, with new users finding out about the service solely by word of mouth. Continue reading…


Nature Features Cancer Commons

Cancer Commons is featured in a new article about precision medicine published in the scientific journal Nature. Read about our mission and how it fits in with other efforts to empower patients to take a more active role in medical research through data sharing.