Today is World Cancer Day. Here’s how YOU can #BeTheSolution!

Posted by Dr. Guneet Walia on February 4th, 2016

Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation Launches $180,000 Crowdsourcing Challenge to Increase Clinical Trial Patient Enrollment.

Each year, in honor of World Cancer Day, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) launches a unique, international crowdsourcing challenge that leverages the power of the crowd, encouraging innovators from both within and more importantly, outside healthcare delivery systems to solve problems plaguing the oncology clinical medicine space.

Today, for 2016 World Cancer Day, ALCF launched the second phase of the Clinical Trial Innovation Prize, a unique crowdsourcing challenge that identifies innovative ways to increase cancer patient enrollment in clinical trials. The goal of the challenge is to produce breakthroughs that will double the patient accrual rate of clinical trials evaluating interventions in the diagnosis and treatment of all cancers.

An estimated one in two men and one in three women in the United States will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with the number of new cases expected to rise by approximately 70 percent over the next two decades.

“There is a drastic need to identify better ways to prevent, detect, screen and treat cancer – and immediately. We owe it to the patients of tomorrow to find effective diagnostics and therapies, and eventually, a cure for cancer. The most reliable and widely accepted scientific method to get these exciting discoveries in the lab to the patient bedside is through clinical trials,” said Bonnie J. Addario, Stage-3B lung cancer survivor and founder of the ALCF.

2016-wcd-infographicUnfortunately, more than 20 percent of these trials will never be completed due to not enough patients enrolling into clinical trials, as many are unaware of the benefits a clinical trial may provide, or that a clinical trial might even be a treatment option.

“Through the second phase, or the Implementation phase of the Innovation Prize, we are looking for sustainable and scalable solutions that will help increase patient enrollment numbers to clinical trials, and in the process, speeding up the development of life saving diagnostics and treatments, allowing cancer patients to live longer and better lives,” added Addario.

And while 97 percent of clinical trial participants state they receive excellent or good care, on average, less than three to five percent of adult cancer patients enroll in clinical trials. Participation is even lower among particular groups, including people who are racial and ethnic minorities, older than 65, lower income and living in rural areas. This is in contrast to 94 percent of pediatric cancer patients participating in clinical trials.

“The problem of patient accrual to clinical trials is multi-factorial, and may be attributed to several factors such as a lack of awareness among some patients and physicians, procedural inefficiencies, stigmas and misconceptions, geographic, language or socio-economic barriers, which contribute towards multiple clinical trials being prematurely halted, wasting precious research dollars and delaying cancer patients’ access to cutting edge diagnostics and therapies,” said Guneet Walia, PhD, ALCF director of research and medical affairs. “Through this crowdsourcing challenge, we hope to, one, raise awareness around this problem; and, two, identify some unique solutions coming from innovators from across the world who are willing to look at the problem with a fresh pair of eyes and unique insight so that we can drive patient accrual to oncology clinical trials.”

The first phase of the Clinical Trial Innovation Prize, or the Ideation phase, was launched on World Cancer Day in 2015 on the HeroX platform, and focused on innovators sharing creative and novel ideas on how to double the accrual rate of cancer clinical trials, the second phase, the Implementation phase, asks competitors to provide proof and data that their ideas have indeed resulted in an increase in trial participation.

“For the first phase of the Clinical Trials Innovation Prize, we received entries from 18 countries from around the world, with 47 teams participating to help us solve this problem. We are hoping to exceed these numbers this time around,” said Walia.

The unique aspect of this crowdsourcing challenge is that the ALCF will mentor applicants during the six months they have to collect data on whether their ideas do in fact change clinical trial patient accrual, as well as provide applicants access to resources that they might need to test and implement their ideas.

This mentorship provided by the ALCF’s expert panel of judges is aimed at potentiating the success of everyone who participates, so that the entire community benefits from the implementation of creative ideas to increase patient enrollment to clinical trials. Based on the final results and data, as well as judging criteria (impact of the solution, scalability, sustainability, innovation, cost, analysis of obstacles etc.), applicants who offer proof that their ideas have resulted in an increase in patient accrual will be awarded $150,000 USD.

“The status quo is no longer working and we knew we needed to try something different to impact all cancer patients,” Addario said. “We hope this competition will inspire applicants from all over the world to be the solution the clinical trials system needs. The challenge will have a profound impact and save lives.”

For more information about the Innovation Prize, please visit and for more details.

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