Novartis launches smartphone-based research into multiple sclerosis

Novartis launches smartphone-based research into multiple sclerosis

Novartis launches smartphone-based research into multiple sclerosis
Novartis HQ in Basel, Switzerland

The elevateMS study, launched by Novartis, allows researchers to collect sensor-based movement and symptom data directly from participants without the need for clinic visits.

Drug company Novartis has kicked off a mobile research study on people with multiple sclerosis (MS) that collects data remotely, via participants’ smartphones.

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 relating to physical tasks and symptoms.

It aims to improve understanding of the daily challenges that people with MS experience and to uncover new ways to measure treatment effectiveness through real-time data collection from participants in their everyday life.

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Apple ResearchKit platform

The study was developed in partnership with Sage Bionetworks, a non-profit organization that promotes patient engagement, and uses a mobile application built on the Apple ResearchKit platform.

The elevateMS study is open to US participants with and without MS who can download the application from the Apple App Store and must 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 data on functional performance tasks completed by the participants.

The 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 from the participant’s everyday environment.

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Designed with patient input

The mobile app was designed with input from patients, as well as neurologists and MS 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, a doctor and medical director of the Providence Multiple Sclerosis Center in 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.

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 that the researchers and study sponsor Novartis won’t know individual identities.


Four weeks to go: On 12 & 13 September 2017, Internet of Business will be holding its Internet of Health EMEA event in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This event will focus on revolutionizing health through IoT for improved insight and patient care.