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Pfizer Wants Your Ideas for Helping Breast Cancer Patients Live Better Lives

CancerCancer
A big new breast cancer study could change patients' lives.Chad Baker Getty Images

Metastatic breast cancer is incurable, but Pfizer believes there’s much that can be done in the care and treatment of patients who have it.

The biopharma giant is currently running a contest seeking tech-enabled solutions for patients living with the disease. Open to developers, entrepreneurs, designers, and health-care professionals around the globe, the Advancing mBC Patient Care Challenge wants ideas for improving the emotional and physical effects of the disease, quality of life, support networks, and access to information for patients and caregivers.

Applications are due by Jan. 20, 2017.

The contest is a partnership between Pfizer and health-care innovation group Health 2.0. The groups are offering a total of $250,000 in prize funding, with the grand winner receiving $100,000.

Metastatic breast cancer, or mBC, describes the stage at which the tumor has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body. It kills more than half a million of women – and some men – around the world each year.

Though the median survival for mBC is an estimated two to three years, some patients can live with the disease for several years longer. The indefinite prognosis can lead to high levels of emotional uncertainty for the patients and their families.

In March 2016, Pfizer Oncology conducted one of the most far-reaching analyses on mBC to date. In the report’s foreword, breast cancer researcher Dr. Fatima Cardoso says there are “major shortcomings in the treatment and management of mBC.”

“Unfortunately, we – the breast cancer medical community – have not made the progress that my colleagues and I would like to see in treating this disease,” she writes, adding that the industry’s research strategies need a comprehensive overhaul.