Faces of Portola Valley

Marty Tenenbaum walked out of the Menlo Medical Clinic dazed. He’d just been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma and given just months to live.

That was in 1998. In his search for medical treatment options, the doctors he consulted had different advice, but all agreed his condition was dire.

“I got into a clinical trial,” the Portola Valley resident, who had broken his hand just days before we visited, recalled. “There were about 1,700 of us. The trial failed, but I was an exceptional responder. I got lucky, and made a vow that I would commit the rest of my life to helping people from a patient’s perspective.”

Marty, a computer scientist who was involved with e-commerce early on, founded the non-profit Cancer Commons in 2011 to do just that.

“When I was diagnosed, advances were shared with 17th century technology. By that I mean conferences and journals,” he said.

“As a computer scientist I knew we could do better at capturing the knowledge and data on what’s working.

Cancer Commons is patient centric. People stumble upon us and we work to find the best treatment possible for them.

Marty estimates Cancer Commons has helped 4,000 patients in 40 countries in the past three years. The services the organization supplies are completely supported by philanthropy.

“I’m looking for transformative gifts,” he said. “I’m also trying to put together industry alliances with biopharma and health networks.

“If you need help with cancer treatment options, come see us. Everything is free. If you are in a position to help us as a volunteer or philanthropist, come see us, too!”

Here is contact information: For those interested in services: [email protected]; Donors: [email protected]; volunteers: [email protected]

Photo by Scott R. Kline (c) 2019

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