Changing the Cancer Care Paradigm: Team OnClass Heads to Google Cambridge

TeamOnClass (1)

Team Members (L to R): Sameer Massand, Ajay Kohli, Maxwell Henderson, Sarah Foster, Katja Engetschwiler, Trevor Heins, Benjamin Ehrlich, Jacob Zeitzew, Anita Ramoliya, Ajit Kohli

“Few moments can be tougher for patients than receiving a diagnosis of cancer,” says Wearables in Healthcare Pilot Challenge finalist Ajay Kohli. “As clinicians, we want to do everything that we possibly can for our patients in these challenging times.”

Kohli’s submission for using wearables in cancer care received the second highest score in the preliminary, online segment of the Medstro Wearables Challenge. As a finalist, Kohli will be traveling to Boston with his team, OnClass, on April 23, 2015 to pitch his idea live to a team of judges at Google Cambridge.

Kohli’s idea involved the use of a platform called OnClass, which is a novel concept in cancer care. “For those not directly involved in the surgery, it is difficult to understand the in vivo orientation of specimens sent to pathology for tissue diagnosis,” Kohli says. “Solving this clinical problem drove us to explore the idea further. We are confident that OnClass will revolutionize the delivery of care, helping to ensure no cancerous cells are left behind and potentially reducing cancer recurrence.”

Initially, Kohli and his team hope to pilot OnClass through Google Glass to enhance communication between two separate yet synergistic entities: surgery and pathology. The surgeon/pathologist collaboration plays a pivotal role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients; not surprisingly, improved communication has a strong correlation with better patient outcomes.

“Oftentimes, to be certain the margins are clear, a surgeon will leave the operating room and join the pathologist at the microscope,” Kohli explains. “Pathologists may receive a large specimen, unaware of its in vivo orientation and begin dissecting, piecing the puzzle together with their best guess. Through this entire time, the patient is left open and under anesthesia for prolonged periods of time awaiting a pathological diagnosis. By allowing for effective communication, OnClass has the capacity to shift the paradigm in cancer care.”

Kohli’s OnClass team includes Sarah Foster, Jacob Zeitzew, Sameer Massand, Anita Ramoliya, Katja Engetschwiler, Trevor Heins, Ajit Kohli, Benjamin Ehrlich, Alesa Chhabra and Maxwell P. Henderson.

Foster and Kohli met through the small community of entrepreneurs while both were in medical school at Drexel Unviersity. Kohli, fresh from California’s Silicon Valley after his first clinical year and passionate about innovations, and Foster, a driven second year Ob/Gyn resident, proposed the idea of collaborating to unleash the potential of wearables, in cancer care specifically and in healthcare in general. Soon thereafter, Kohli reached out to Zeitzew, another Glass Explorer, and they saw an opportunity to collaborate, bringing together the fields of medicine and engineering.

Since then, the group has recruited members from medicine and engineering, as well as information technology, to build a platform compatible with secure hospital networks and integrated into the live stream of surgical care with real time analytics.

Ultimately, OnClass could decrease duration of surgery, save patients and hospitals millions of dollars, and improve patient safety. Next, the team hopes to obtain IRB approval for their clinical study.

“Presenting at Google is an amazing opportunity for which we are all incredibly grateful to Medstro, Medtech Boston and Google,” Kohli says of next week’s live pitch-off. “It gives us a platform to promote our idea, an idea that we have worked tirelessly on over the past few months. Additionally, to be a part of innovation and technology, to propagate ideas, network with like-minded people and receive constructive feedback is wonderful.”

Tickets for the live event at Google Cambridge headquarters are now sold out, but you can add yourself to the wait list here. You can also register for our first ever MedTALK Boston Networking Night, on May 13th, for similar conversation and collaboration.

Jenni Whalen

Jenni Whalen

    Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston's Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.

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