Cancer Moonshot partnership hones in on digital biomarkers

By Jenni Spinner contact

- Last updated on GMT

(K_E_N/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(K_E_N/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags: Cancer, Nih, Medable, Oncology, biomarkers, Digital biomarker, Decentralized trials

Medable will collaborate with Aural Analytics in an initiative funded by the NIH’s seven-year Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot research and development program.

Patient-centric drug development tech firm Medable is partnering with Aural Analytics, which offers clinical-grade speech collection and analytical tools, to assess remote data capture and digital biomarkers in cancer patients in an effort connected to Medable’s Cancer Moonshot work. The collaboration will use Aural Analytics technology (as well as other remote data capture solutions) to track oncology patients’ health, using Medable’s platform for decentralized trials.

This year is the fifth anniversary of the launch of the National Institute of Health’s (NIH’s) Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot program, a seven-year initiative named in honor of President Joe Biden’s late son. The initiative has infused an additional $1.8b USD into cancer research, through the 21st Century Cures Act. To date, 240 research projects across more than 70 initiatives have been supported by Moonshot funding, with Medable receiving its funding in 2018.

Ingrid Oakley-Girvan, Medable’s senior vice president of research and academics, spoke with Outsourcing-Pharma about the program, the company’s work connected to the Cancer Moonshot program, and how the work provides hope for cancer patients and caregivers.

OSP: Could you please tell us how Medable came to be involved with the Cancer Moonshot program?

Ingrid Oakley-Girvan, SVP of research and academics, Medable

IOG: Medable applied for and won a Small Business Innovation Research award that is a designated part of the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Moonshot program. The National Cancer Institute coordinates the US National Cancer Program and is part of the NIH, which is one of eleven agencies that are part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

OSP: Please feel free to share as much detail as you can about what Medable and Aural Analytics will be bringing to the table.

IOG: The NIH-funded work, titled “Digital BioMarkers for Care,” is to test and develop remote digital data tools designed to assess the wellbeing of patients undergoing cancer treatment. Medable and Aural Analytics’ technologies will continuously collect data using iPhone applications and Apple watches to understand a variety of physical and physiological parameters as they pertain to a participant’s perceived level of fatigue and physical capabilities; for instance, speech provides rich information about health.

Medable is integrating Aural Analytics' innovative speech application with its decentralized clinical trial platform, to capture speech patterns remotely. The Aural Analytics Speech Vitals tool provides validated metrics reflecting the neurological and respiratory health of users and enables clinical-grade speech collection and near-real-time cloud-based analytics. Integrated with Medable’s platform, the solution minimizes patient burden and provides an enhanced dataset to assess outcomes that are meaningful to both the patient and clinicians.

OSP: Could you please share details about the Digital Biomarkers for Care study—the goals of the study, how it’s designed, scope, and as much as you’d like to share about what you hope to achieve?

IOG: At a high level, this study is designed to evaluate the feasibility of gathering a wide variety of digital biomarkers with a focus on those that matter for clinical decision-making to improve care and those that are meaningful to specific patient populations.

OSP: Do you have anything to add—about the partnership, Cancer Moonshot, or anything else?

IOG: The Cancer Moonshot program challenges us to adopt new approaches to discover cures and improve care for cancer patients. Technology and digital tools offer a moonshot opportunity to collect longitudinal data so we can remotely monitor changes in health when patients are not in the clinical setting.

This effort applies to both clinical trials and healthcare. We can learn what is critical information versus background for both individuals and populations with specific diagnoses.

Medable’s patient-centered clinical trial platform offers flexibility to leverage other innovations like Aural Analytics’ speech neuroscience application to enable greater learning about individual and population health. This is the key to inform and drive better care and ultimately provide critical opportunities for novel endpoint, biomarker, and therapeutic discovery during clinical trials. 

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