Cancer: There is a lot of Information to Cover

Cure Forward

Today, Cure Forward is helping cancer patients access precision medicine.  As new research brings the genetics of other health conditions into focus, we hope to continue to expand.

There are many companies that take a sample of your DNA and analyze it to show your ancestral makeup and other features.  This is different than molecular profiling specifically for disease treatment. The goal of molecular profiling is to gain insight into the genetic characteristics and biomarkers of a specific cancer tumor, or cancerous cells in the blood.

We have partnered with diagnostic test providers that offer molecular tests specially designed for cancer patients, who are trying to get more precise diagnoses and increase their treatment options, to allow you to more easily obtain your data. Learn more about our diagnostic test providers here.

Cure Forward does not offer analysis, testing, or interpretation of the data.  The information that we provide, such as our Gene Stories and CTX, are designed to help patients expand their knowledge, making it easier for them to understand available options that they can discuss with their physician.

No, there are no charges for patients and their care teams to use Cure Forward. We offer a free service. Our goal is to work with cancer patients and their care teams to build robust patient profiles that detail a patient’s full medical and personal history. Using this information, we match patients with relevant and active clinical trial options, opening the door to advanced treatments and accelerating medical innovation.

Cure Forward works directly with trial recruiters, who are interested in advancing medical innovation and are searching for patients with a robust profile that matches up with their clinical research trials.

The Cure Forward Clinical Trial Exchange

Our goal is to help patients and their care teams explore whether there is an active clinical trial that is a specific fit. We do not diagnose, treat, or give treatment advice to patients. Our focus is to help patients and doctors navigate the informational and logistical challenges of finding clinical trial options that match up with each person’s unique medical history, personal preferences and molecular data (when applicable).

Learn more about the Clinical Trial Exchange here.

When you get started with Cure Forward, your Clinical Trial Navigator will reach out to you within 24-48  hours through the email address or phone number you provided in the account creation process.

Every patient experience is unique and will depend on several factors, including your disease state, how quickly we receive your medical records, and what type of trial you are interested in. Other factors will also be taken into consideration once we have all of your information. Our platform is focused on matching you with a trial based on a robust set of criteria to ensure you receive options that are appropriate for you. Your Clinical Trial Navigator will work with you and your care team to help the process move as quickly as possible.

New trials become available on a rolling basis and you can refresh your post often. The post is stored in the system and can be re-posted with a single click. You can also review and update your posting and profile anytime.

In the meantime, you may want to visit our community and connect with others who may be able to share their experiences and insights with you.

Working with your Clinical Trial Navigator and care team, you will build a robust profile that is inclusive of your medical history, personal preferences and molecular data (when applicable). This all-inclusive profile is used to match you with all relevant and active clinical trials that you are eligible to enroll in.

No. We understand that choosing to enroll in a clinical trial is a very important decision that needs to be discussed with your care team and family. We encourage you to be absolutely sure of your decision before you accept a trial in the Cure Forward Platform.

While you are building your profile we will ask you where you live and how far you are willing to travel (or any other cities that you may have access to) to participate in a clinical trial. This allows you to find trials outside your immediate area that you may want to consider.

Yes. Understanding the information behind your disease and all the treatment options available will help you be a better partner to your doctor. There are considerable risks associated with clinical trials that need to be talked through and considered carefully.

Talking to your doctor about all of the options will help ensure that you are working together for the best treatment plan.

You will only get matched with actively recruiting clinical trials. We will never match you with outdated or full trials.

Our goal is to help patients and their care teams explore whether there is an active clinical trial that is a specific fit. We do not diagnose, treat, or give treatment advice to patients. Our focus is on helping patients and doctors navigate the informational and logistical challenges of finding clinical trial options for each person’s unique medical history, personal preferences, and molecular data (when applicable). Learn more about the process here:

Patient Engagement

When you get started with your Cure Forward Clinical Trial Navigator, you can expect to complete the Cure Forward Patient Authorization forms and the Medical Record Release form. Every case is unique, and we will work with you and your care team to collect all information needed.

Signing the Cure Forward Patient Authorization forms allows you and your Clinical Trial Navigator to enter medical information into your profile and to share your de-identified clinical information with trial recruiters.

Signing the Medical Record Release form allows Cure Forward to obtain necessary clinical information from the Records Department of your treating facility. This will include your medical history, physical report, last doctor’s visit note, and so on.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are where transformational therapies are tested and proven. Patients who participate in clinical trials have the opportunity to access and potentially benefit from these therapies early, and to help prove or disprove their use for future generations of patients. It’s important to note there is no guarantee that a new, potential treatment will work, and unknown or negative effects are possible.

Clinical trials have both potential risks and benefits. They test therapies that have not yet been approved by FDA to treat disease(s) in humans. The choice of whether to participate in a clinical trial should be carefully weighed.

However, any potential new treatment must undergo vigorous review by the FDA before it can be given to patients. Before clinical trials are approved, an Investigational Review Board (IRB), and ethicists – that typically include both scientists and laypeople – examine the plan for testing the new treatment. This is to ensure the study meets ethical guidelines and does not pose an undue risk to patients.

Any approved trial must obtain “informed consent” from each patient who participates in a clinical trial. This means that the sponsor of the trial must explain the purpose of the study and the potential risks of participating in the trial ,such as the potential risks of a new treatment being investigated, –all in language and a format that is understandable.

At minimum, all patients in a cancer treatment clinical trial receive the best standard treatment, called the “standard-of-care,” in addition to any new treatments being tested. Four boards of experts, including the researchers, monitor the safety of the trial as it progresses and may stop the trial early if there are concerns about safety or if enough data is collected early.

Clinical trials benefit people with many different types of cancer and at all stages of the disease.  Clinical trials may offer the best treatment available for certain individuals.

Research and discovery move so fast for some cancers that the treatment provided under clinical trials may be better than the current standard treatment. People who participate in clinical trials can be the first to benefit from new treatments. That’s why it’s so important to consider all of your options, including clinical trials.

Read more about the possible risks and benefits of clinical trials here

Insurance and research sponsors often cover the cost of clinical trials. According to federal law, health insurers must cover approved clinical trials that you enroll in if you’re eligible for the study. Please note that insurance doesn’t always cover everything – if the trial uses out-of-network hospitals, insurance only has to pick up those costs if you have out-of-network coverage. Trial sponsors will typically pick up research costs, like extra blood tests, since insurance doesn’t have to pay for those.

You can learn more about the costs of care in clinical trials here.

New treatments move through different phases. Treatments go through three or more phases of clinical testing and must be reviewed and approved by the FDA before they are released to the general patient population. Phase 1 clinical trials look at whether a treatment is safe. Then the treatment passes into Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, which generally seek to evaluate the drug’s effectiveness and identify the appropriate dose and best method of administering it. Read more about patient safety in clinical trials from the National Cancer Institute.

Learn more about the different phases of clinical trials.

Precision Medicine and Molecular Profile Testing

Personalized medicine and precision medicine are interchangeable terms. They are the practice of using cutting-edge science to tailor treatments to your unique personal biology.

At Cure Forward, we prefer the term precision medicine because it is a more accurate description for treatments based on genomics and genetics.

Genomics examines large segments of DNA, or your entire set of DNA as a whole, while genetics looks at the working of individual genes inside your DNA.

At Cure Forward we refer to this as molecular testing or having a molecular profile. This is the first step in accessing precision medicine.

Precision medicine starts with a test that examines many of your genes at once, finding the ones that are changed or behaving abnormally.

For patients, precision medicine could mean less frequent, extra targeted therapies and potentially better outcomes. As a patient, it is a treatment approach that you should discuss with your physician. Cure Forward does not practice medicine.

Molecular testing, sometimes called tumor sequencing or tumor profiling, is a method of testing that examines a patient’s particular cancer and studies its genetic characteristics, as well as any other biomarkers that may have significance. This information is used to identify therapies that are more likely to work for that specific tumor profile.

Not all cancer is created equal. Cancer is a disease caused by changes called “mutations” inside your cells. When DNA, RNA, and proteins develop hundreds, or even thousands, of changes — cancer can result. Molecular testing examines and catalogs these changes. Read more on the benefits of testing here.

Mutations are changes in your DNA.

They may be germline mutations, which are inherited from parents and may raise an individual’s risk for cancer. While a particular mutation may be common within a family, inherited cancer mutations are rare in the general population.

They may also be acquired mutations, sometimes called somatic mutations, which are found in every cancer case. These are ‘errors’ in the DNA that arise during the normal cell replication process. Environmental exposure such as sunlight, chemical fumes and smoking can increase the chance of error and lead to mutations. A mutation affecting a gene that is involved in cell life cycle regulation can result in cancer, where cells divide out of control.

Molecular testing is still in its early days. Researchers and physicians understand that cancer with certain genetic alterations respond well to certain treatments. But science has not yet unlocked all the secrets of the cancer genome.

The goals for molecular testing development are:

  • To expose the weaknesses of every form of cancer and tailor therapies to individual patients
  • To develop treatments that can distinguish between healthy and cancerous tissue, therefore causing fewer side effects.

Molecular testing identifies biomarkers – mutated genes, proteins, or other molecules – known to influence how patients respond to specific treatments. These tests can help doctors craft a treatment plan targeted towards your unique form of cancer at a particular moment in time. They can also help researchers gain information that will help them development the treatments that future patients will rely on.

Joining Cure Forward will give you access to information about cancer and cancer research and allow you to search our Clinical Trial Exchange. You can join Cure Forward without having a molecular profile. but having this information helps us offer you more targeted information and will help you explore your options with greater clarity.