“The greatest despair of cancer patients, particularly those in Stage 4, comes from the disappointing rates of reaction to standard treatments, which means that the disease will continue to progress while they are suffering side effects, getting weaker and their health deteriorates,” explains Nir Erez, the founder and CEO of Trial-IN Pharma. Even if there is some positive reaction to treatment, he says, at some point, cancer cells develop resistance to the treatment, so the patient’s reaction does not last, and the disease progresses and worsens. “We have to think outside the box,” Erez, who has been exposed to studies, medicine and innovative cancer treatments for almost two decades, emphasizes. “Trial-IN Pharma provides service to cancer patients from all over the world, the United States, Europe, Australia, Argentina and more, and, of course, Israel. There are many treatment options around the world and at the forefront of science, but, of course, when the health system operates in a state of insufficiency, it’s very difficult for oncologists under a heavy workload to offer patients personalized alternatives, such as a new biological drug or some other innovative treatment. I don’t blame the doctors, that’s the reality. But it doesn’t have to be like this. It’s important for patients and their families to take things into their own hands in order to find new medical solutions from around the world and deal with the disease with more than the standard treatments.”
Erez, a chemical engineer with a master’s degree in organic chemistry from the Weizmann Institute, served in many roles at Roche, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies that develops and markets cancer drugs, which Genentech is a part of. Genentech became a member of the Roche Group in March of 2009. As part of their merger agreement, Roche and Genentech combined their pharmaceutical operations in the United States.
For a decade he expanded his knowledge of groundbreaking drugs, international protocols and guidelines for cancer treatment, came to know the different types and stages of the disease, and became acquainted with most oncologists in Israel and with opinion leaders and leading cancer centers around the world.
A profound life event drove Erez to make a critical decision – to start Trial-in Pharma in order to provide a source of information and a link between patients and their families and advanced treatments for cancer from around the world. In 2010, his mother died of triple negative breast cancer. Two years later he learned about a new biological drug that was suitable for her disease and had a success rate that was 15 times higher than that of standard treatments. That drug was later designated as “groundbreaking” by the FDA, and today it is approved and available all over the world for treatment of similar patients. “My motive in starting the company was my failure with my mother. We should have taken control. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with trusting the system, but we need to recognize its limitations. No one told us about the existence of that drug.”
Erez describes a conversation he later had with the oncologist who treated his mother. According to her, she tried to suggest that, even if he had known about the drug, he wouldn’t necessarily have done anything with this information – a claim that makes him angry to this day. “Who knows what we would have done with this information if it were provided to us, and it’s true that we don’t know how my mother would have reacted to the drug. But that shouldn’t be part of the considerations of doctors. Patients and families need to have all the information, free from any reservations about their ability to meet expenses or take any required actions to obtain new advanced drugs that may better help them. Moreover, patients and families must have access to actual assistance and direction to actually get a new drug, preferably in Israel, without having to travel abroad in their condition.”
Trial-IN Pharma is assisted by senior oncologists and operates on the basis of a unique process model, beginning with a clinical characterization of the patient and an examination of his or her medical history. Based on this personal information, a process of searching and screening information begins, some of which is closed to the public, from various medical institutions around the world, through pharmaceutical companies and clinical trials, to unique case studies that may provide patients with a light at the end of the tunnel. “It is immensely important to match the treatment to the characteristics of the disease and the patient’s medical history. You can’t apply treatments using a copy-paste approach. With each patient we start from scratch. This is a truly personalized approach,” Erez explains.
“Fundamentally, we all seek longevity and quality of life, and cancer patients at the metastasis stage of the disease are no different. There’s no reason why a person at this junction in his or her life should suffer and give up the right to prolong and improve their quality of life.”
Personally tailored approach, professional guidance and assistance
Erez explains that matching the treatment to the exact characteristics of the patient and the disease is critical for improving the chances of success. “For example, even if two patients have the same disease, it matters if the tumor is “sitting” on the spine or in the lungs or the head. It’s important to know how many tumors there are and their sizes. It’s important to know if there was resistance to a certain drug in the past and how this was expressed in the patient. These are only a few examples to illustrate how important it is to personally tailor treatment and to look at the whole patient. Cancer medicine has a lot to offer, but this information should be evaluated based on the patient’s medical information, and the vast number of treatments should be screened to find the ideal match, providing patients with the best chances to successfully fight their disease. After identifying a list of drugs and treatments, it’s important to continue to accompany and explain and be available for patients and families. You have to be proactive and help promote access to new drugs from around the world and not settle for sending patients with the results to an oncologist and forget about them, and that’s exactly what we are doing.
“Each time we manage to extend the life of a patient, we are extremely happy,” Erez explains. “The company’s successes so far in introducing patients and their families to unique personalized treatment options have changed the lives of many patients. We accompany families and patients for as long as it takes and constantly strive to help patients obtain the newest, most researched and most advanced drugs in the world.”
Erez is tormented to this day over the greatest missed opportunity of his life, dealing with his mother’s illness, but he finds comfort in what he does now: “Our goal is to improve chances and give hope to people who deal with the advanced stages of the disease.” In the future, he wants to make the information accessible to every household by creating a free digital platform. “The idea is coming together. I can see people sitting at home, entering information into our platform, and with the click of a button receiving not only extensive information about suitable treatments but also being able to directly contact the best cancer centers, leading researchers and oncologists, facilitate their own cancer medicine and find drugs and treatments from the forefront of medicine.”
phone number: 072-3902977
with Trial-IN Pharma