Learning Health System

Cancer Commons is a learning health system. We help patients with advanced and complex cancers identify and access novel tests, treatments and trials. We learn continuously from every patient’s experience and share that knowledge with the world.  

The field of oncology is evolving rapidly. It’s impossible for any individual to keep up. The result is a significant gap between scientific discoveries and their implementation in clinical practice, and wide variations in patient outcomes. 

Often, no one knows the optimal way to use available drugs because at a molecular level every patient’s cancer is unique. Moreover, the best treatments involve intelligent combinations, and there are far more plausible regimens than can be tested in clinical trials.  

Patients who have exhausted the standard of care are routinely treated with off-label drugs and rational cocktails. Unfortunately, these individualized (‘N-of-1’) experiments involve a lot of trial and error. They are uncoordinated, and their results seldom reported, so little is learned.   

What if every oncologist knew as much as the world’s best? What if we could learn from every patient’s experience, not just from the five percent of patients who participate in clinical trials? 

By tightly integrating cancer research and clinical care, our Learning Health System aims to make thesewhat if’s a reality. It shifts the clinical research paradigm from approving drugs to curing patients. This paradigm shift has the potential simultaneously to optimize individual patient outcomes, maximize collective learning, and accelerate development of the most promising new therapies.