Cancer rates are growing at an alarming pace around the world, with the latest figures suggesting there will be 23.6 million new cases of cancer each year by 2030.1 Despite significant innovations in cancer treatment in the past decade, patients still face serious obstacles to their cancer care, particularly in the areas of coordinating care, navigating the healthcare system, treatment adherence and life after treatment.
The Astellas Oncology Changing Cancer Care (C3) Prize, now in its second year, focuses on helping to address these unmet needs by recognizing and providing financial support for the most inspiring nontreatment innovations to improve cancer care for patients.
Announcing the winners at November’s Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) World Cancer Leader’s Summit (WCLS) in Mexico City – where the five finalists pitched their ideas live – Mark Reisenauer, Senior Vice President, Oncology Business Unit at Astellas, said: “Each of the five C3 Prize ideas has the potential to address real unmet needs for patients living with cancer, their caregivers and their loved ones.”
The judging panel – Nick Grant, Executive Director of International Partnerships at Cancer UK, Ambassador Sally Cowal, SVP, Global Cancer Control at the American Cancer Society, plus representatives from Astellas – assessed the winning entries on plausibility, creativity and originality, and the ability to operationalize/implement the innovative idea for future application.
This year’s Grand Prize of a $50,000 grant and a one-year nights and weekends membership to MATTER, a healthcare innovation community, was awarded to Hernani Oliveira of Porto, Portugal, for his HOPE PROJECT, a two-part app developed to help pediatric patients understand their cancer care and improve their physical condition during this sedentary period, as well as educate parents on complex cancer treatment procedures, and how to provide the right care for their children.
Oliveira’s entry centers around a video game where a superhero takes on all the child’s main fears about the disease. The game takes place in the three different settings where children with oncological disease spend time: hospital, home and street/school. To provide the superpowers the hero needs to overcome his hurdles, the child is invited to shave his character’s hair. The game sees the superhero move on through the different diagnostic, treatment and care pathways, with the child helping him to overcome each obstacle as he goes.
Commenting on his win, Oliveira said: “With the Astellas Oncology C3 Prize we will be able to perform more user tests in order to prove the association between the use of this video game and hospitalization time. The award will also allow us to launch the parents and caregivers app in three different languages: English, French and Portuguese.”
The four runners-up each received $12,500 and a one-year, nights and weekends membership, to MATTER.
Reisenauer spoke for everyone at Astellas when he noted: “the Astellas Oncology C3 Prize aligns with our mission and vision to enable cancer patients to focus on living, and I look forward to seeing how these ideas to change cancer care may make a tangible, day-to-day difference in the lives of those affected by the disease.”
- Cancer Research UK (2017). Worldwide cancer statistics. Available at: cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/worldwide-cancer#heading-Zero (accessed December 2017).