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This Oncology Software Startup Turns Cancer Treatment Into A Team Effort

This Oncology Software Startup Turns Cancer Treatment Into A Team Effort
[Illustration: MUTI]

Cancer deaths in the United States have dropped nearly 30% in recent decades. Even more lives stand to be saved as genomic testing–in which doctors study the unique DNA of a patient’s tumor to customize drug regimens–becomes an integral part of cancer care. But to write a treatment plan, physicians must first scrutinize data from similar cases, which puts smaller institutions and patients with rare forms of cancer at a disadvantage. “To find matches, many providers need to look outside their own system,” says Ken Tarkoff, CEO of San Francisco–based oncology software startup Syapse. To enable them to do just that, Tarkoff’s company launched the Syapse Data Sharing Network last year, a first-of-its-kind hub for doctors from multiple hospital systems to pool their collective experience for the benefit of patients. By integrating anonymized electronic health records, pathology reports, and DNA sequencing data, the platform helps doctors nationwide identify patients like their own, and the specific treatments that have helped them. The network is used by regional hospital systems such as Washington’s Providence St. Joseph Health, Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System, Colorado’s Catholic Health Initiatives, and Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. Syapse partners manage approximately 1 million cancer cases, which amounts to about 10% of the national total. Late last year, Syapse closed a $30 million series D funding round, which it will use to onboard more hospital systems. “There’s a huge wave of new treatments coming to market,” says Tarkoff, “and doctors are realizing that maybe chemo as a first-line treatment is not the best thing.”


Syapse is an honoree on Fast Company’s 2018 World’s Most Innovative Companies list.

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