Today we’re excited to announce a new collaboration with UCB, a multinational biopharma company headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, with the launch of a digital health trial for myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease that can lead to impaired speech, blurred vision, difficulty swallowing, and other symptoms.
The trailblazing research will use smartphones to detect voice and facial patterns of people with myasthenia gravis to build an AI model that correlates biomarker signatures with clinical symptoms. These advancements are likely to help researchers worldwide understand this complex disease and other adjacent states better and develop improved treatments.
“This research is the first of its kind,” said Walter De Brouwer, Chief Scientific Officer of doc.ai. “We’re using AI models to optimize two biomarkers and synchronize their continuous functions in face topology and voice forensics into one biometric signature. Our AI technologies will create a much more consistent and precise reading of the symptoms more frequently than previously possible with human observation.”
Myasthenia gravis is a rare autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that impacts 1.5 million people worldwide and approximately 36,000 to 60,000 individuals in the US, however, it is often underdiagnosed. Missed diagnoses occur in part because of the difficulty to record objective measurements of myasthenia gravis symptoms, and because there is limited understanding of how symptoms and triggers occur over time.
“Improving understanding, from a patient perspective, about the day to day experience of living with myasthenia gravis is urgently needed. Only then can we fully appreciate the impact of uncontrolled myasthenia gravis and focus on improving individual outcomes and experiences,” explained Chris Clark, Global Myasthenia Gravis Mission Lead, UCB. “At UCB we are committed to helping people living with such diseases of the immune and neurologic systems, and we’re proud to partner with doc.ai on this ground-breaking research.”
Once enrolled, participants will complete a short daily survey, provide audio and video recordings twice a week, and keep a weekly video journal. The AI model will be used to detect facial muscle weakness that causes visual changes, and vocal muscle weakness that causes hoarseness. Through the doc.ai app, participants can also connect additional health information, like exercise and diet, to provide a more complete picture of their health during the course of the trial.
“We’re in a digital age where anyone with a smartphone can be a researcher and we’re partnering with UCB to leverage this capability to help people suffering from myasthenia gravis,” said doc.ai Chief Medical Officer Nirav R. Shah, MD. “With this trial, we have the potential to help speed up diagnosis and predict symptom flares, so that those with the disease can get care when it’s most crucial.”
Ultimately this technology may help people with myasthenia gravis track their disease’s progression and make informed decisions on when to stretch themselves and when to rest. This is essential for people with myasthenia gravis for whom poorly timed exertion can trigger a severe worsening of symptoms or even hospitalization.
The at-home digital health trial for myasthenia gravis is now open and is enrolling participants through 2021. Visit doc.ai/mgresearch for more information.
Since the doc.ai platform went live just two short years ago, it has enabled digital clinical research for environmental allergies, Crohn’s/Inflammatory bowel disease, epilepsy, congestive heart failure and COVID-19, as well as research using neural nets for AI models for mood and food. All of the digital health studies are completed remotely and digitally via a smartphone or tablet. To learn more about doc.ai’s work to advance clinical research, visit doc.ai/clinicalresearch.