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Findings suggest that wearable sensors could provide valuable indicators of disease status
Data from the SysteMS pilot study, a collaboration between Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Verily and Biogen exploring the use of biosensors as a measure of MS disease severity, were presented today at MSParis2017, the seventh Joint Meeting of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS and Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS; 25 – 28 October).
“Our results from this pilot study show that biosensor metrics can be an effective way to assess individuals both in and outside of the clinic, and could provide a means for detecting an impending relapse or worsening,” said Tanuja Chitnis, MD, a neurologist and scientist at the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Disease at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and co-principal investigator of SysteMS. “We look forward to further exploring these data in a larger study.”
The SysteMS pilot study enrolled 25 participants with varying degrees of MS severity. Participants were evaluated during clinic visits using standard clinical measures of MS disease severity, and these scores were compared to data collected from biosensors that participants wore both during the clinic visits and outside of the clinic over an eight-week period. Results showed that data from the biosensors collected during clinic visits correlated with the standard clinical measures of disease severity, including scores from tests that evaluate a patient’s gait, vision and motor control. Additionally, some data collected from participants for two months during their daily living also provided meaningful information about the severity of the disease that was confirmed at a clinic visit. This study used Verily’s wearable sensors, predecessors to Verily’s Study Watch, which are designed to continuously measure movement, activity and vital signs.
“Today, doctors can only evaluate people living with MS at select points in time. With real time updates, outside of the doctor’s office, we hope to complement clinical evaluations and provide a more in-depth look into a person’s disease over time,” said Thomas Snyder, PhD, head of Computational Biology at Verily who presented the data.
An additional and ongoing phase of the SysteMS study is exploring the underlying biological factors that could allow physicians and their patients the ability to make more informed choices about appropriate treatment. The study includes 500 MS patients, and data is being gathered from clinical assessments, MRI images, molecular assays.
“Despite decades of progress in the diagnosis and treatment of MS, there is still an incomplete understanding of this disease. The goal is to gather and analyze more continuous, precise information about patients’ experience with MS, with the hope that this research may lead to new insights that make it easier for patients and doctors to successfully manage the disease,” said Alfred Sandrock, MD, PhD, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Biogen.
In 2015 Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Verily and Biogen formed a collaboration to launch the SysteMS study. The study aims to explore the biologic, physiological, environmental and behavioral factors that influence a patient's experience with MS as the disease progresses. The SysteMS study builds on the history and patient base of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s CLIMB study, initiated by Howard Weiner, MD. The CLIMB study has driven much of the current clinical and research knowledge of MS.