Ro Announces Agreement with the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA) to Diversify Clinical Trial Registration Using its Telehealth Platform
Initiative to remotely screen and recruit patients eligible for NIA dementia trials reflects shared interest in advancing new, patient-centric clinical research strategies
October 6, 2022 – Ro, the leading direct-to-patient healthcare company, today, announced an agreement with the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to create the "Registry for Equal Access to Clinical Trials in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)" (REACT-AD). As part of the agreement, Ro will use its telehealth platform to screen and recruit patients who may be at an elevated risk for AD or a related dementia to join a registry of potential participants in NIA-conducted and funded clinical trials. The agreement reflects a shared interest in advancing patient-centric, technology-driven clinical research strategies.
“This is a unique opportunity to work closely with the NIA to support their extensive research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and to use Ro’s technology to help advance more patient-centric clinical trials,” said Zachariah Reitano, Co-founder and CEO of Ro. “Ro’s platform was built to advance access to innovative treatments and high-quality care for patients regardless of demographic, insurance coverage, or zip code, and we are excited to do the same for clinical research. This initiative demonstrates how Ro can help our patients achieve their health goals, whether through care on our platform or by connecting them to world-class clinical trials.”
Recruitment of patients into Alzheimer’s and related dementias clinical trials is a major challenge to drug development and treatment of the disease that affects more than 6 million Americans and is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. Further, as AD clinical trials have traditionally under-represented minorities who are disproportionately affected by the disease, the application of results from existing research to broader populations is limited. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further undermined recruitment of patients into clinical trials through traditional methods.
The goal of the REACT-AD initiative is to use Ro’s telemedicine platform that serves a large and decentralized population to diversify the participants recruited for clinical trials. The hope is that telemedicine can facilitate this process by reducing some of the barriers that participants traditionally have faced, such as the need for transportation, time off work, or childcare for numerous trips to a trial facility, clinic, or lab for testing. The unique aspect of the study is that every step of recruitment, screening, and assessment can be completed in the comfort of patients’ homes and scheduled at their convenience.
"Ensuring equal access to clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease for all individuals is not only a moral imperative but also sound scientific practice," said Madhav Thambisetty, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Investigator and Chief of the Clinical and Translational Neuroscience Section (CTNS) at NIA. His group will analyze the data and oversee the publication of research findings emerging from REACT-AD. Ongoing research initiatives led by Dr. Thambisetty to identify effective Alzheimer’s and related dementias treatments include the Drug Repurposing for Effective Alzheimer’s Medicines (DREAM) initiative and the Preclinical Validation of Emerging and Novel Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease (PREVENT-AD) study. "We are excited to create a diverse and decentralized registry of trial-ready participants that will enable us to test the most promising AD treatments emerging from our ongoing research," said Thambisetty.
Beginning this month, Ro will conduct a feasibility study. It will entail outreach to a subset of patients, between 50 to 65 years of age, who have sought treatment through its platform, who may have a high risk of developing AD and related dementias, and who may live within 50 miles of two NIA clinical facilities. One facility is in Bethesda, MD, and the other is in Baltimore. AD risk will be defined by information on comorbidities and demographics from the company’s proprietary electronic health record (EHR). Patients who are contacted will have the option to participate in further screening via Ro’s platform, which will asynchronously collect relevant, structured information including family history of AD, and an online cognitive test developed by the Translational Genomics Research Institute’s (TGen) IRB-approved MindCrowd study.
This research is supported by NIA Intramural Research Program project ZIAAG000436. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Ro is a direct-to-patient healthcare company with a mission of helping patients achieve their health goals by delivering the most convenient and effective care possible. Ro is the only company to offer telehealth and in-home care, diagnostics, labs, and pharmacy services nationwide. This is enabled by Ro's vertically integrated platform that helps patients achieve their goals through a convenient end-to-end healthcare experience spanning from diagnosis, to delivery of medication, to ongoing care. Since 2017, Ro has helped millions of patients in nearly every single county in the United States, including 98% of primary care deserts. Visit Ro.co for more information.