Physicians Hall Front

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Network Partners with UWM App Brewery for Brain Cancer Patients

New app provides real-time recommendations on treatment for complex and challenging cancers that spread to the brain

MILWAUKEE (January 22, 2020) — Designed and built in Milwaukee, the NIMBLE app is changing how doctors treat individuals who have cancer that has spread to the brain. Almost any type of cancer can spread (metastasize) to the brain. Historically, people with such brain tumors did not have an extended survival prognosis due to limited treatment options. Now, treatment demands neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, cognitive specialists and many others who work together in a meeting called a tumor board to plan the most effective treatment.

NIMBLE stands for Network for the Integrated Management of Brain Metastasis Linking Experts. It is the brainchild of two experts with the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Network: Joseph Bovi, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) associate professor; and Christopher Schultz, MD, FACR, FASTRO, MCW professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology. They collaborated with UW-Milwaukee’s App Brewery to create the app. UWM's App Brewery is a mobile innovation laboratory in which students design, develop, support and host mobile apps for the Milwaukee research community.

In early 2020, the Froedtert & MCW Cancer Network will be one of the first in the nation to launch a multidisciplinary program just for caring for people whose cancer has metastasized to the brain. Specialists see about 10 times the number of brain metastasis patients versus patients with primary brain cancer (cancer that started in the brain). The program will be supported by the NIMBLE app, which will be free for doctors and available on iOS and Android operating systems.

“Today, the survival and quality of life of people with brain metastasis is improving due to developments in precision, image-guided radiation, targeted therapies and immunotherapies,” Dr. Bovi said. “With NIMBLE, we’re taking it one step further by providing faster access to the experts and resources needed to treat brain metastases. People who have brain metastases often cannot wait days for treatment recommendations. Creating NIMBLE was central to launching our Brain Metastasis Program and addressing the individual complexity of care for these patients. This app functions as a virtual tumor board that is always available for real-time, doctor-to-doctor discussions. With NIMBLE, we will offer data-driven treatment recommendations delivered within hours as opposed to days with references to data and publications that support those recommendations. We expect NIMBLE to make treatment options more accessible and to accelerate the treatment path for patients who need it.”

“This powerful, innovative partnership is multifaceted,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “Brain tumor patients receive a new level of personalized care. UWM provides essential experiential opportunities to our undergraduate students through the App Brewery. And, the entire region benefits from the collaborative, entrepreneurial work that generates products like NIMBLE.”

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