Myeloma Crowd has launched an online tool called HealthTree, aimed at helping patients with multiple myeloma find the most appropriate therapies for their condition, while boosting research toward a potential cure for multiple myeloma.
By registering with HealthTree, which is free, patients can track their body’s response to different therapies, while gaining access to all relevant information about available therapeutics to help find the best one.
Patients can also access reports of anonymous data and find clinical trials related to their stage of disease and lab values.
In addition, participants can contribute their data that is shared anonymously with the research community studying multiple myeloma, as well as the patient community.
Jenny Ahlstrom, a myeloma patient and former systems engineer for IBM, developed HealthTree with the help of her husband, Paul, an investor and entrepreneur. The couple designed the online tool with patients in mind, aiming to provide all the information and guidance that Ahlstrom herself thinks would have helped her when she got her diagnosis.
“The healthcare industry still acts as if the internet doesn’t exist with every patient having to reinvent the wheel to learn about their disease,” Ahlstrom, who also founded the CrowdCare Foundation, said in a press release.
“HealthTree gives the 80 percent of patients not seeing a myeloma specialist access to information from the experts that they can share with their doctor. Patients could be living years longer with today’s wide range of therapies if they received the right treatment at the right time,” she said.
HealthTree uses machine learning, the same technology that big companies like Amazon and Netflix use to predict consumer preferences, to identify patterns in patients that would inform them on treatment decisions and improve their outcomes. This information, when shared among the research community, is vital for finding a cure for myeloma.
Once all the information relevant for myeloma patients is available, the Ahlstroms plan to expand the online platform to include other types of cancer and, in the future, to terminal patients.
HealthTree already has almost 1,000 patients registered who, by sharing their myeloma data and experiences, are actively participating in the research to find a cure.
Myeloma Crowd is a division of the CrowdCare Foundation, a patient-driven, nonprofit organization that provides education, advocacy work, and research funding for multiple myeloma.