ONKO, a provider of unified cancer care, has been awarded a five-figure grant by Innovate UK to launch a digital platform for cancer care with the NHS.
The grant will fund a pilot implementation of ONKO’s digital solution, working with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and was awarded as part of Innovate UK’s call for business-led innovation in response to global disruption.
Krishna Moorthy, cancer surgeon and ONKO co-founder, said: “This funding will accelerate our ability to get the ONKO platform in the hands of NHS patients and give them the best possible chance of recovery from cancer. We are excited to be working with Imperial on this project and are pleased Innovate UK saw the potential in ONKO to deliver life-changing impact to many.”
ONKO exists to give cancer patients the best possible chance of recovery by delivering unified care, expertise and encouragement to succeed.
It combines digital technology with the support of healthcare professionals to provide patients with personalised expertise from cancer dietitians, physiotherapists, specialist nurses and psychologists. Based on a model that ultimately leads to improved outcomes for patients preparing for, undergoing and recovering from cancer treatment, 95% of people who use ONKO will complete chemotherapy as planned, compared to the 80% completion rate of those who do not and are also three-times less likely to experience post-operative complications (from 60% to 20%).
Prof Catherine Urch, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust cancer lead, said: “We are delighted to partner with ONKO, an incredibly innovative development that will enable thousands of patients to benefit from improved self-management, motivation and well-being, all of which lead to improved outcomes. This approach will completely change care of patients and ensure they are equal partners in their health and wellbeing.”
This funding comes at an incredibly important time for cancer care, with recent figures from NHS England showing major disruption during the pandemic, with the number of people being assessed after referral falling by 60% versus the same time last year.
Commenting on the figures, cancer nurse and ONKO co-founder, Venetia Wynter-Blyth, said: “We are incredibly concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care, and have been for some time. We have seen first-hand what these figures suggest – that people are not coming forward for treatment even if they become aware of symptoms. The long-term impact of this could be catastrophic and we strongly urge people to get checked if they are concerned.”