U-M Breast Cancer Ally

providing patients with effective disease management

Treating cancer is becoming more complicated and multidisciplinary in nature, and patients are increasingly getting medical information from the Internet rather than health care providers in order to make complex treatment decisions.

University of Michigan Medical School faculty, Michael Sabel, M.D., has developed the University of Michigan Breast Cancer Ally clinical companion mobile app—a disease-specific technology that helps patients navigate the multiple facets of medical care by delivering information and tools based on the appropriate stage of treatment. It is the first in a potential suite of apps.

Significant Need

With the overwhelming volume of medical information available online, patients are increasingly getting medical information from outside sources. This information can be inaccurate and incompatible with the patient’s medical situation. In addition, it can lead to a lack of communication between patient and physician.

Compelling Science

Disease-specific technology that promotes physician interaction and delivers customized information and tools based on the individual patient’s stage of treatment.

Competitive Advantage

Today, most medical apps are primarily informational, with minimal oversight regarding the clinical content and a tendency to replace the patient/physician relationship rather than enhance it. The U-M Breast Cancer Ally is disease-specific, providing the tools and information needed for a patient to navigate the multiple facets of their medical care. Components can be added, deleted, or modified to customize the materials for individual institutions.

Commercialization Path

  • Intellectual Property – Trademarked names under the “Cancer Ally” family.
  • Commercialization Strategy –
    • Direct-to-consumer for U-M patients.
    • Enterprise-level customization service available for purchase by other health-care organizations.
  • Regulatory Pathway – U-M Breast Cancer Ally and U-M Colon Cancer Ally will not be the focus of FDA regulatory oversight, but do have some features for which the FDA may exercise enforcement discretion.
  • Engage Investors – Seek venture and SBIR/STTR funding. NIH R-level funding for impact studies.
  • Product Launch Strategy – U-M Breast Cancer Ally and a potential suite of disease-specific apps.


  • Release U-M Breast Cancer Ally, version 1.1 to the iTunes App store
  • Identify and collaborate with an outside health system to create a non-U-M institution-specific version of Breast Cancer Ally, then modify for release
  • Identify, collect, and design essential interactive components for colorectal cancer management
  • Generate colon and rectal-specific educational material and institutional-specific information in mobile format
  • Modify the U-M Breast Cancer Ally into a U-M Colon Cancer Ally version
  • Evaluate usability and functionality of U-M Colon Cancer Ally
  • Submit FDA review of U-M Colon Cancer Ally, version 1.0
  • Release U-M Colon Cancer Ally, version 1.1 to the iTunes App store
  • Q316 Update: Cancer Ally Suite available on App Store

May 21, 2021