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SEC team win Forerunner Prize for innovative care system to help cancer patients

A team of science and technology experts have been awarded for their CanAdvice virtual care system – a smartphone app which allows cancer patients receiving treatment to report problems anytime, anywhere, while receiving advice on self-care.

Dr Shereen Nabhani-Gebara, Dr Reem Kayyali and Dr Nada Philip, all from the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology, received a Forerunner Prize for their technology-led social enterprise which has the potential to change the lives of cancer patients.

The CanAdvice system – which has been developed over the last five years and is the team’s first digital product – allows healthcare professionals to monitor a patient’s condition between clinic appointments. It also has the ability to alert healthcare professionals by email or text if the patient reports problems.

The anticipated benefits are early reporting of problems, reduced complications and reduced A & E and hospital admissions. It also empowers the patient to be more actively involved in their care.

The winning team will receive £1,000 to help develop their idea, alongside mentoring and business support from Iridescent Ideas CIC, the community interest company and social enterprise that runs the awards, as well as specialist advice from partner organisations.

"I am very excited about this award because it will provide us with the support and mentorship to extend the reach of CanAdvice beyond the realm of research investigation," said Dr Nabhani-Gebara, senior lecturer in applied pharmacy and an oncology expert. "My vision is for CanAdvice to be available to as many patients as possible."

Dr Philip, associate professor and expert in mobile computing, and Dr Kayyali, associate professor in applied pharmacy and an expert in public health and medicines optimisation, added that they are very proud of the product and delighted about the award.

CanAdvice – which was selected in 2014 by Time Higher Education as one of the top 20 ideas that will change the world – is currently being piloted at the Royal Marsden Foundation Trust with breast cancer patients and so far feedback from participants and healthcare professionals has been positive.