Peter Kecskemethy: A big part of Kheiron’s origin story stems from the fact that I spent my childhood in radiology departments. My Mum is a radiologist and my grandmother is in medical imaging; at the time that meant I spent my days at school, and my afternoons and evenings at the radiology department. I may have started programming very early on, when I was 9, but I actually learned how to operate CT machines even before that. I’ve launched multiple startups, and it’s not a coincidence that almost all of them were either in healthcare, or had a healthcare component. I did it because I felt it was not just patients who suffered in the healthcare system, but also the doctors who were trying to help. They suffer because they are not empowered to do their jobs well. They either have archaic support, or no support at all in running the processes they need to treat their patients. That’s pretty mind-boggling. You can find a restaurant in two minutes with your mobile phone, but doctors have to duplicate, even triplicate their work and still can’t find the information they need in order to efficiently support their patients. I felt that bringing tech into healthcare was extremely important, and when AI became good enough, I saw the possibility of creating a major shift, an absolute curve jump for the industry.
Toby and I founded Kheiron in 2016 with the long-term goal of making cancer as manageable as the common flu. That stems from the realisation that cancer treatment, and generally cancer management, is an information problem.
Early detection and diagnosis, staging, treatment planning, treatment tracking, follow-up, etc., these are all information problems. The key question is not “how do you treat cancer,” it’s “what exactly is cancer?” because it’s very diverse, and it’s very changeable over time. Cancer is a dynamic disease and it’s very hard to detect because it doesn’t give the body any signals. That means that all the way from early detection to the late stage, we are starved of the information we need in order to treat it. I don’t think there is a generic cure for cancer, but there is a way to manage cancer, and it’s having access to good information. At Kheiron, we are building the information backbone to make that happen.