Bengaluru-based Cytecare Hospitals plans to bring Big Data to a cancer fight

April 19, 2017

Cytecare has raised Rs 165 crore from global high net worth individuals, which it has used to construct its first centre
Cytecare, a soon-to-launch cancer speciality hospital in Bengaluru, is looking to use big data and analytics to improve detection and cure of cancer in patients while also ensuring that the treatment it offers is affordable.
The hospital, which is scheduled to open its doors to patients in November this year, is located in North Bengaluru with easy access to the city's airport. Cytecare has raised Rs 165 crore from global high net worth individuals, which it has used to construct its first centre, with plans for expanding in more cities already in place.
"I think when we talk about affordability, it's a fallacy that affordability is always linked to cutting corners. It should be both affordable and excellent and technology plays a big role. Just standardisation in cancer is not sufficient, we need personalisation," said Ferzaan Engineer, co-founder and Chairman at Cytecare.
Cytecare aims at use of technology, where patient data is stored digitally and as new cases come in, the older cases are referred to algorithmically by doctors to come up with the best method of cancer treatment.
India lags behind industrially developed regions such as the US and Europe in cancer treatment, with only 40 out of 100 cases of cancer being cured completely as opposed to 60 per 100 cases in the west. Despite cancer being India's third largest killer, the country lacks expertise in oncology as opposed to cardiology.
India is witnessing new models to bring cancer treatment to patients. Bengaluru-based HCG Global has built an hub and spoke model - with satellite treatment centres in smaller towns to improve reach and bring down cost. The Premji Invest backed HCG also has built a model that brings practitioners as partners in the initiative.
In order to differentiate itself from other cancer care centres in the country, Cytecare is looking to personalise treatment. Every case that comes into the hospital will be reviewed by a Tumor Board - a group of experts from within the hospital and outside that will collaborate to decide on the best mode of treatment.
"Cancer is divided into many organ sites and each of these have to be treated by specialists in that organ site. This dramatically improves outcomes for the patient. The second thing we're pushing for is catching cancer early, so there are many new compounds you can use to detect tumours and we'll be using those," said Suresh Ramu, co-founder and CEO at Cytecare.
With backgrounds in clinical research at Quintiles India, both founders of Cytecare know the dearth of quality data on cancer cases in India. A large part of the hospital's focus will be on collecting in-depth data which can not only help improve a patient's chance of beating cancer when treated at Cytecare, but anywhere in India.
For now the management at Cytecare is setting itself a goal of breaking even within three years. Plans to build similar hospitals in other Indian cities are also in the pipeline, with Cytecare adopting a model of opening one main centre in a city along with a few tertiary cancer care centres.
The hospital in Bengaluru will have 150 beds, but will be able to treat far more patients than a similarly sized establishment given the use of technology to further optimise patient inflow and outflow. Cytecare will have its own smartphone app that will give patients accurate information of where they need to go and when the doctor will see them.