Digamma.ai CEO Q&A Series: Interview with Wout Brusselaers, CEO of Deep 6 AI
1. Deep 6 AI recently won the Enterprise and Smart Data category at SXSW’s accelerator competition and participated in the inaugural SXSW Connect to End Cancer event. What role is Deep 6 taking in the fight to end cancer?
We’re not doing any cancer research ourselves. However, Joe Biden, our former Vice President, actually pitched the purpose of our company himself when he was on stage at SXSW. He mentioned that in order for the mutual effort to cure cancer to have a fighting chance, we need to increase the number of patients with cancer that participate in clinical trials. Today, that stands at 4%—only 4% of cancer patients actually enroll in clinical trials. To be able to find a cure for cancer it is widely estimated that that number needs to grow to at least 25% and ideally 50%. Most patients don’t know about clinical trials.
Finding the appropriate clinical trial they are eligible for requires an in-depth, professional understanding of their specific condition, sometimes down to the molecular level. This requires a lot of research, expertise and time. We cannot expect patients to carry this burden to figure out which trial to enroll in, from possibly hundreds available to them, and reach out to all the pharmaceutical companies, the CROs, or the hospitals involved. But trial sponsors or sites also don’t have the tools to look into patient data and quickly assess whether a patient will be a suitable candidate for a given trial. So, that is where artificial intelligence can really help and perform that matching, reducing the time it takes from months to as little as 10 seconds.
After our SXSW presentation, a woman who had Stage 3 breast cancer came up to me and explained how she was looking for a trial to help fight her cancer. Her husband was an oncologist, she was highly educated, and she knew her way around medical data, but she was still overwhelmed trying to find a trial. She said that when she keyed in her basic characteristics she found 140 trials online. She then had to narrow it down by reading through them and reaching out to the different PIs and sponsors. One sent her to a website where she had to take a survey, then a phone interview, and then weeks later they told her that she was not eligible. And she doesn’t even know why. It’s a nightmare. We want to help change that. Read More