Q: Why did Kraft Accelerator select Direct-to-Patient (DTP) as one of its first workstreams?

A: Because all data start with the patient. The more patients understand their role in precision medicine and how they can benefit from it, the more they will engage.  Let me give you three examples.  Disease specific data sets need to be shared across research institutions in order to inform our collective knowledge of cancer and effectively predict how to best treat it in the individual patient. Registries need to be created where patients can contribute their data safely and securely.  And, with more data, clinical trials can better identify the patients to include based on their subtype of cancer. Everything we can do to better communicate and educate the patients about why their data are important will help advance precision medicine methods.

Q: Why were you selected as the head of DTP?

A: I have a strong consumer background, including 30 years of broad-based marketing and general management experience. I have served as head of marketing for several Fortune 500 companies, such as Peloton, Keurig, and PepsiCo. I had a fresh perspective as someone from the consumer goods space, and it was exciting for me to bring that perspective to an important field. But this is also a very personal cause for me, as I have battled breast cancer myself, and I am a long-time Board member at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Q: What was your initial goal?

A: We wanted to identify research foundations focused on precision medicine that were willing to share their best practices and work together to solve a common problem. That problem is that far too many patients don’t understand the value of their data, and even if they do, it’s not easy for them to raise their hands to contribute.

Q: How did you solve this challenge?

A: At the Kraft Accelerator, we identified alumni and other friends in the Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) space who were experts at consumer engagement and retention—companies such as Marriott, Rue La La, and Peloton.  By bringing the cancer foundations together with the DTC experts, we identified the importance of providing VALUE (such as providing patients information specific to their concerns) so they would sign up and STAY with these organizations over the course of their journey. That would provide precious longitudinal data. After we performed market research together, we discovered that patients were overwhelmed with all of the noise and information out there about what to do when first diagnosed. This led us to decide to take the first step with the development of a simple framework with a unified message across diseases, called “The Right Track”.

Q: What is The Right Track?

A: The Right Track is a roadmap designed to guide newly diagnosed cancer patients on what steps to take to optimize outcomes. Its goal is to help patients understand the importance of getting to the right team, having the right tests, and getting the right treatment and sharing their data along the way.  For example, it’s critical that patients get to an academic or high-volume center, that they seek appropriate genomic testing, and ask about trials. We also want patients to know their data and make sure it’s shared appropriately to answer scientific questions.