The Stack Archive

Apple secures GlaxoSmithKline as first clinical research partner

Tue 19 Jul 2016

Apple has established its first industry partnership for its clinical platform, ResearchKit, teaming up with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to support the drugmaker’s new rheumatoid arthritis trial.

A ResearchKit-supported iOS app will help the pharma group gather data in its Patient Rheumatoid Arthritis Data from the Real World (PARADE) study, which is aiming to track the mobility of 300 patients over the course of three months. The app will also record details of joint pain, fatigue and mood through patient data entry.

The move comes as Apple begins to build its position in the digital health scene. Medical research teams at institutions such as John Hopkins University and Duke University have already experimented with the ResearchKit in their studies. A recent Stanford University programme was able to gather 11,000 participants in just one day using the tool.

Speaking of the Kit’s ability to speed up process while reducing costs, Rob DiCicco, VP of GSK’s Clinical Pharmacology Sciences and Study Operations unit, commented: ‘Certainly you’ve also taken out the site costs, and the costs of having nurses and physicians explaining the studies to [patients] and recording information.’

He added: ‘One thing we’ll learn is whether we made [the app] compelling enough to make you want to interact with it every day.’ DiCicco referred to criticism that the app would struggle to engage patients over a long period of time. The cost of the iPhone, from £359, also limits the study to a wealthier cross-section of patients.

‘Our goal is to engage with patients in a new way that integrates the research into their daily lives versus the traditional model that requires patients to travel to their doctors’ offices… By making research as easy and accessible as possible for patients, we have the potential to disrupt the model for how we conduct research in the future and ultimately improve patient health,’ said DiCicco in the GSK statement.

Anyone above the age of 21 can participate in the digital trial by downloading the free PARADE app from the App Store.

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