"There’s No Reason a Cancer Patient Should Give Up the Right to Live and in Good Quality of Life"

Access to advanced treatment options and solutions is the life mission of Nir Erez, founder and CEO of TRIAL-IN Pharma, which was established with the intent to expose cancer patients (mainly stage 4 cancer) and their families to drugs and treatments from the forefront of global science

Galit Ben Hemo, in collaboration with TRIAL-IN Pharma
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"There’s No Reason a Cancer Patient Should Give up the Right to Live and in Good Quality of Life"Credit: MG - stock.adobe.com
Galit Ben Hemo, in collaboration with TRIAL-IN Pharma
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“The greatest despair of cancer patients, particularly those with stage 4, stems from the disappointing response rate to standard treatments which means that the disease continues to grow while patients are suffering from side effects, getting weaker and their health deteriorates,” explains Nir Erez, founder and CEO of TRIAL-IN Pharma.

Even if a positive response to a treatment is observed, he says, at some point of time, cancer cells develop resistance to it, so those patients' response does not last, and the disease progresses and worsens. “We have to think outside the box,” emphasizes Erez, who has been exposed for nearly two decades to cancer research, drugs and innovative worldwide treatments.

“TRIAL-IN Pharma provides service to stage 4 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 there is no doubt 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 other innovative investigational treatments. I don’t blame the doctors; this is the reality, but it does not have to be accepted as default by us. 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 treat the disease with options beyond the standard of care. This is where we step in”.

Nir ErezCredit: Benny Gam Zo Letova

The Connecting link

Erez, a chemical engineer with a master’s degree in organic chemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, served in many roles at Roche Pharmaceuticals Ltd., 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 about a decade he expanded his knowledge of groundbreaking drugs, international protocols and guidelines for cancer treatment, learned the various types and stages of the disease, and became acquainted with most of the 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 not only a source of information but also a connecting link between patients and their families and advanced cancer treatments from around the world. In 2010, his mother died of Triple Negative Breast Cancer, TNBC. Two years later he learned about a new biological drug that matched her disease when she was alive and had a success rate that was 15 times higher than that of standard treatments she received. That drug was later designated by the FDA as “Breakthrough Therapy”, and today it is approved and available for treatment in this cancer type. “My motive in starting the company was my own personal 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 in the framework of a clinical trial".

Erez describes the conversation he later had with the oncologist who treated his mother. He says that she tried to suggest that, even if he had known about the drug, he wouldn’t necessarily have done anything with this information – a statement that infuriates him to this day. “Who knows what we would have done with this information if it was provided to us, this should not be the doctors' discretion. It’s true that we don’t know how my mother would have responded to the drug and yet patients and families need to receive full and comprehensive information, free of any reservations about their ability to meet expenses or take any required actions to obtain new investigational and advanced drugs that may better help them. Moreover, patients and families must get real support and guidance to get access to new drugs, preferably in the medical center where they usually receive treatments, without having to travel elsewhere in their condition".

TRIAL-IN Pharma is assisted by senior oncologists and operates based on a unique personalized methodology, beginning with the patient’s medical report and a deep learning of his or her medical history. Based on this personal information, a process of scanning and filtering information begins, some of which is not open to the public. The information is collected from various medical bodies around the world, pharmaceutical companies, clinical trials, and case studies, all may very much promote cancer care to a new level of treatment. “It is extremely important to identify treatments to the specific characteristics of the patient’s disease and medical history. It is impossible to search treatments using a ‘copy-paste’ approach. With each patient we start from scratch. This is a truly personalized approach,” explains Erez.

“Fundamentally, we all seek longevity and quality of life. Cancer patients at the metastatic stage of disease are no different. There’s no reason why a person at this stage of his or her life should be different and give up the desire and the right to live and have a good quality of life".

Personalized medicine approach, professional guidance and assistance

Erez explains that identifying and obtaining specific treatments that match the exact characteristics of the patient and the disease is critical for improving the chances of success. “For example, even if two stage 4 patients have the same type of cancer, there is a difference whether the metastases are located on the spine, lungs, brain or liver. It’s important to know how many metastases there are and what is their size. 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 identify the best matched treatments and to look at the patient as a whole".

"Global cancer medicine has a lot to offer. This information should be weighted and screened against the patient’s medical information so the best matches will be identified, providing patients with the best chances to successfully fight their disease. After providing our report detailing a list of drugs and treatments, it’s important to continue to accompany, to explain and be available for patients and their families. We need to act and promote access to new drugs and investigational treatments from around the world and not settle on sending patients with our reports to their treating oncologists and forget about them, and that’s exactly what we are doing".

“Each time we are fortunate to prolong a patient's life, it jumps us into the sky with joy", explains Erez. “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, patients and doctors for as long as it takes and constantly strive to help patients obtain the newest, most studied 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 strives to make the information accessible to every household by creating a free digital platform. “The idea is already being formed. I can see people sitting at home, entering their medical information into our platform, and with the click of a button receiving not only extensive information about personalized treatment options from around the world that best match their condition but also enabling them to directly contact the best cancer centers, leading researchers and oncologists, facilitate their own cancer medicine and receive the most advanced drugs and treatments from the forefront of global science”.

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In collaboration with TRIAL-IN Pharma