When her father was told he had cancer in 2009, Nadine Housri—who was then a New York City–based
intern and is now a doctor—reached out to top academic centers to fgure out the best treatment.
Those conversations made it clear to her that much medical information stays hidden—“knowledge
that’s basically trapped in experts’ heads,” she says, recalling a conference where a community doctor
said that, should a cancer cure be discovered, he’d probably fnd out about it fve years later.
Her brother Samir Housri, who’d been a software engineer, showed her discussion sites like Stack
Overfow. But there was no medical equivalent—until 2014, when the siblings launched theMednet, a free
digital platform where cancer docs can ask questions and receive answers about cancer from around
700 experts from the likes of the Mayo Clinic. Nearly half of all U.S.based oncologists—more than
7,500—have registered on the platform, which also publicizes clinical trials and runs Q&As on sponsored
topics. Y Combinator has backed it, and theMednet plans to expand its medical topics in 2019.
Patients are not identifed in discussions, and the site has a rigorous policing process: Participants
are vetted, and 21 moderators—all practicing oncologists—review what’s posted to ensure that the
discussions adhere to high standards. Previously, Samir says, “medicine didn’t document these types
of conversations.” Or, as Scottsdale, Arizona–based oncologist Vershalee Shukla puts it, theMednet
surfaces “a lot of trends happening in oncology—before the actual [research] comes out.”