Marty Tenenbaum to Speak at Precision Medicine World Conference on Jan 23

Cancer Commons founder Marty Tenenbaum, Ph.D., will speak at the upcoming Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) in Silicon Valley, which runs Jan 22–24. Marty, who founded Cancer Commons after his own battle with melanoma, will discuss the potential for artificial intelligence to help find better cancer treatments.

Read the synopsis of Marty’s presentation, entitled “How AI will Cure Cancer”:

From an AI perspective, finding effective treatments for cancer is a high-dimensional probabilistic planning, search, and optimization problem, characterized by many molecularly distinct cancer subtypes and potential drug combinations, and a dearth of high quality data connecting them to clinical responses. Many organizations are developing relevant AI-based applications, from decision support tools to treatment planning. We will describe a bold industry-wide initiative to integrate these capabilities for the immediate benefit of patients and physicians, and moderate an open discussion toward catalyzing an active AI-and-cancer community.

Marty’s talk takes place on Jan 23 at 4:45 pm. If you’d like to attend, register using this link for a 5% discount.


Cancer Commons Scientist & Project Manager Lisandra West-Odell Writes About the Power of Data Analytics

In a new guest blog post for CollabRx, Cancer Commons scientist and project manager Lisandra West-Odell discusses how we’re harnessing the power of data analytics to improve treatment for cancer patients, starting with brain cancer:

“I am reminded of the old adage: ‘Lessons come from the journey, not the destination.’ Where one patient’s story can only exist as an anecdote, many stories can be organized into larger buckets or cohorts elevating them to a higher level of evidence.”

Click here to read the full post.


Jude LaCava Promotes Cancer Commons During Hockey Fights Cancer Event

Fox 10 News sports anchor Jude LaCava is a long-time proponent of Cancer Commons who has sent many patients and caregivers our way to receive extra guidance for their cancer treatment, including Super Patient Mary Beth Smith. This past weekend, Jude took some time to share our mission and services on air during a Hockey Fights Cancer event (see video above).

We at Cancer Commons are deeply grateful to Jude for his continued support and belief in our mission. By spreading the word about our services, he has helped many people sort out their treatment options and find new hope.


Thank You to the H8 Cancer Foundation

We at Cancer Commons express our deep gratitude to the H8 Cancer Foundation, which has generously made our organization a major beneficiary of its gifts since 2015. Founded by oncologist Dr. Simeon Jaggernauth, H8 Cancer is “dedicated to raising funds for research and to promote awareness of better treatment options to save lives.”

Recently, we had the honor of attending Tomstock, an annual summer music festival to benefit H8 Cancer, which in turn benefits Cancer Commons (see video above). It was a powerful event that gave guests the opportunity to share how cancer had affected them and contribute to a hopeful future of better cancer treatment for all.

We thank Dr. Jaggernauth and everyone at H8 Cancer for your shared belief in our mission. With your support, we are changing the way the world treats cancer.


The Economist Publishes Cancer Commons Founder Marty Tenenbaum’s Letter to the Editor

Cancer Commons founder Marty Tenenbaum wrote a letter to the editor that has now been published in The Economist. His piece discusses the importance of using data to accelerate improvement of cancer treatment. From the letter:

“The oncology drug pipeline is full of promising immunotherapies and targeted treatments (Technology Quarterly on cancer, September 16th). Unfortunately, no one knows the optimal way to use them. Doctors and patients alike struggle with conflicting expert opinions and the information overload. Moreover, a cure will probably involve intelligent combinations of remedies, and there are far more plausible regimens than there are patients available to test them in clinical trials. Treatments, outcomes and quality of life vary widely across institutions, falling off sharply from elite cancer centres to rural, disadvantaged and third-world communities. Continue reading…


Julie Rubidge – One Deloitte Patient’s Story


Julie Rubidge

As one might imagine, Julie Rubidge’s diagnosis in May 2016 of an aggressive form of breast cancer at age 39 was shocking and surprising. The first few weeks that followed were no less traumatic for the Deloitte Partner. “I cannot adequately describe the weeks that followed in trying to figure out a plan of action and everything that goes along with that. It was overwhelming to say the least,” Julie says.

Detail-oriented and fascinated with medicine, specifically with DNA and the technology behind medicine and medical discoveries, Julie has called her interest in the subject one of her hobbies. Before her diagnosis, she’d read many articles and had studied the subject in general. Following her diagnosis, Julie studied her particular breast cancer with a fierce purpose. Continue reading…


“Rockin’ for a Cure” at Tomstock 2017


Marty Tenenbaum, Simeon Jaggernauth

A little more than four years ago, longtime friends Tom and Carman Duvall, and Kiers and Steve Rowley reminisced at dinner about their lives in the 1980s, long before their schedules had grown complicated and filled with endless trips driving children to various activities.

Tom, a child of 1980s rock and roll, wondered aloud whether Def Leppard might perform for them on his next birthday. Conversation meandered during the evening, and when the check arrived, Tom and Steve advised Kiers and Carman that a date had been set for a rock concert on the Duvall property in Independence, Missouri, and that it would be a fundraising event to support patients suffering with cancer. Kiers, who’d struggled with lung cancer for the past five years, and Carman announced “We’re in.” So began an all-day-long summer music festival and tradition resembling Woodstock, that the four friends named Tomstock. Continue reading…


Deloitte Colleagues Raise Over $300,000 in Support of Cancer Commons


Board member Heather Rangel

In 2014, a dedicated team of Deloitte colleagues joined forces to help cancer patients find the best treatment options for optimal outcomes. They made their first gifts to Cancer Commons in memory of Jackie Tran. Ms. Tran was a Deloitte partner who received support from Cancer Commons’ ASK service while navigating her treatment options for ovarian cancer.

Since then, over $300,000 has been raised from more than 200 generous participants. These vital financial contributions flowed through the Deloitte Shine Project and grew with additional support from the Deloitte 114+ Community and Deloitte WIN. Leadership was provided by many key Deloitte angels, including Houston’s Patti Wilke, Dallas’ Pam Downs, Los Angeles’ Gina McLeod, and especially San Jose’s Heather Rangel, who accepted an invitation to join the Cancer Commons Board of Directors last year.

This year, in addition to many other contributions, we want to acknowledge a special donation made in memory of Deloitte staff member Christine Ito. This gift in Ms. Ito’s memory came to Cancer Commons as the result of a Health and Wellness Charity Challenge sponsored by Chicago’s Sarah Cuthill at Deloitte University in January 2017 with support from the Global Employer Services Senior program. Continue reading…


ASK Cancer Commons has International Impact


Cancer Commons provides expert, personalized guidance to patients and caregivers around the world through our ASK Cancer Commons service. Recently, we plotted the distribution of our ASK users on a world map to see where they live. We found that about 2,000 people in more than 44 countries have sought help from Cancer Commons.

“Cancer Commons is catering to an international audience and therefore has great potential even beyond the U.S., where the majority of under-served cancer patients may be present,” says summer intern Usman Raza, a graduate student at U.C. Berkeley School of Information, who prepared the map.

Further analysis revealed more about who uses the ASK service. We found that about 60% of ASK users are female, and one third of ASK users contacted us regarding their (or a loved one’s) lung cancer treatment. Other common cancer types were skin (14%), breast (13%), and gastrointestinal (10%) cancer.

We have received questions about cancer treatment for people of varying ages. Five percent of questions were regarding cancer in patients between 0 and 30 years of age. Twenty-nine percent of patients were between 30 and 50 years of age, and 53% were 50 to 70. Thirteen percent of questions were regarding patients 71 years old or older.

This analysis illuminates the diversity of people benefiting from our ASK service and will help guide our efforts to continue to improve the way cancer is treated for patients around the world.