British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has become the first drugmaker to use Apple’s ResearchKit platform to carry out important clinical research — with an investigation into the common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Using an app called GSK PARADE, GSK will observe the mobility of 300 participants over a three-month stretch, during which time it will record both their physical and emotional symptoms. To create a standardized measurement from users, the app involves specific wrist exercises which participants must carry out.
“We are the first in our industry to use Apple’s ResearchKit as part of our research, this time looking at the impact a patient’s disease has on their day-to-day life,” the company notes in a press release. “We’re not testing a medicine right now. The medicines development process starts with learning from real patients by including their insights and health goals into our research. That’s exactly the information we hope to gather about rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating disease which can impact patients’ lives at many levels.”
Through the study, GSK hopes to collect data it can use to design future studies to help develop medicines more effectively. As with other ResearchKit studies, participants in the study are rewarded with, “access to a dashboard containing their personal data in the study, which they’ll also be able to share with their healthcare providers to support conversations about treatment plans.”
The success of this study will be watched keenly by others in the pharmaceutical healthcare space: many of whom are interested in finding out whether ResearchKit can help save the millions of dollars currently spent on research costs.