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In the battle against cancer, access to high-quality information, data, and assistance are invaluable.

Today, Belong: Beating Cancer Together — whose app connects patients to public and private chats with doctors and professionals — has announced a partnership with the American Cancer Society. The partnership adds a closed forum for American Cancer Society members, allowing them access to its online patient-doctor community.

Belong isn’t just an app that connects people. It is also using AI and machine learning, combined with big data, to help provide patients with personalized information, education, and assistance.

“Belong is applying state of the art machine learning, AI, and NLP technologies to develop one of the world’s most powerful real-world patient-generated data lakes,” Eliran Malki, CEO and cofounder at Belong, told VentureBeat in an interview. “This is disruptive due to both the unprecedented quality of the real-world data it generates and its longitudinal nature. We also use patent-pending d-PRO (digital Patient Reported Outcome) features and other methodologies to build this data lake.”

Of course, Belong’s application of AI doesn’t end at creating a data repository. The organization is using cognitive computing technologies to better understand what happens to patients as they fight their cancer.

“Belong applies machine learning, AI, and medical neural networks to our data lake to better understand patient profiles and patient journeys,” Malki said. “These allow us to (retrospectively) identify challenges, critical decision points and journey ‘bottlenecks’ cancer patients and their families face. We then communicate some of these crowdsourced insights to cancer patients on our platform.”

That’s important because the community, information, and insights on offer can help patients decide what to do next.

“Examples of crowdsourced insights can range from patients’ tips on how to cope with specific side effects to how choosing the right MRI machine can be relevant to diagnosis phases, what some of the warning signs to look out for are, and more,” Malki said.

This new relationship adds the American Cancer Society’s information, insights, and resources to the Belong network.

“The partnership with the ACS brings a new layer of engagement with the ACS’ range of valuable resources, which are now made available to patients through a bi-directional mobile-based communication platform,” Malki said. “So now all patients using Belong have direct access to the ACS’ resources, their information specialists, and other experts who do extraordinary work in both responding to patients and their families on the app and in providing targeted access to the ACS’ services and knowledge base.”

The American Cancer Society is leading a forum on the Belong platform, named “American Cancer Society4U.” Belong users will be able to read relevant information that connects them to resources, as well as contacting the American Cancer Society via the app.

So what’s next for Belong?

“Belong’s mission is to analyze the massive and information-rich real-world data and the patient and caregiver journeys that we generate and eventually use that to help advance science and cancer research toward finding better and more effective solutions for patients,” Malki said. “In other words, we aim to help scientists identify successful patient journeys, and on the other hand identify unsuccessful journeys that should be avoided.”

The Belong app is available for both Android and iOS via the company’s website.

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