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Novartis launches smartphone research study in multiple sclerosis

Friday, August 25, 2017

Novartis announced the launch of a mobile research study for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) that collects data via their smartphone, without the need for clinic visits. The study, Evaluation of Evidence from Smart Phone Sensors and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Participants with Multiple Sclerosis (elevateMS), is designed to collect sensor-based data from physical tasks and symptoms. It aims to improve understanding of the daily challenges patients with MS can have and to uncover new potential measurements of treatment effectiveness through real-time data collection from participants in their everyday life.

The elevateMS study, which was developed in partnership with Sage Bionetworks, uses a mobile application that was built on the Apple ResearchKit platform. This emerging digital smartphone research platform allows study participants to contribute to research from home or on the go. At the same time, it enables researchers to collect data in the participant’s everyday environment.

The mobile app was designed with input from patients, neurologists and advocates. Patients commented on the app’s user interface, what the study should measure, and how the app should track patient activity and disease symptoms.

“As physicians, we always want to know how our patients with MS are doing on the treatments we prescribe,” said Stanley Cohan, M.D., Ph.D., medical director, Providence Multiple Sclerosis Center, Portland, Oregon. “With the elevateMS app, study participants can frequently document their symptoms in a personal health story. In turn, this data may provide researchers with new ways to look at disease progression and treatment effectiveness,” added Dr. Cohan, who serves as a scientific advisor to the study.

The elevateMS study is open to U.S. participants with and without MS who can download the application from the Apple App Store and provide their mandatory informed consent. Participants have a right to leave the study anytime they like. Using smartphones, the elevateMS application will capture participant responses to questionnaires, passive and active sensor-based movement data, and functional performance tasks completed by the participants. Participants will be able to use the application to view how their data changes over time. Researchers will use data from all participants to understand what it is like to live with MS. The names of participants will be replaced with a random code, so the researchers and study sponsor Novartis won’t know the individual’s identity.

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