iPLATO digital framework to support patient recruitment for national cancer trial

Huma health tech company iPLATO is to support patient recruitment for a national oesophageal cancer screening programme through use of its solution framework including deployment of their patient engagement platform, digital patient questionnaires and an online web booking mechanism.

The screening study, BEST4, seeks to recruit 120,000 participants; with iPLATO’s framework to help identify and engage with eligible patients, with particular focus on men, who are deemed to be at increased risk at a younger age, and individuals suffering from reflex due to age. The trial will see 40,000 participants randomly assigned a cell collection device called a ‘capsule sponge test’, which is coupled with a laboratory test to detect changes in the oesophagus.

BEST4 is to be conducted by the University of Cambridge in partnership with King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit, following funding from Cancer Research UK and the National Institute of Health and Care Research.

Professor Fitzgerald from the University of Cambridge states: “For screening tests to be effective it is essential that we find better ways to engage with the public. Using digital methods to engage and recruit patients to the BEST4 study is a pioneering approach to reach people from all walks of life who could be at risk. We are very excited to be launching this trial with iPLATO to see if we can improve the outcomes from this brutal cancer.”

Dr Harpreet Sood, NHS GP and iPLATO’s chief medical officer, comments: “The power of effective patient engagement through digital tools is enormous. Using solutions designed with patients at the centre ensures maximum uptake and better clinical outcomes.”

In November we covered the NIHR grant of £42 million in funding to 14 new HealthTech Research Centres across England. In the month, we also shared how a health tech start-up with links to the University of Oxford, OX.DH, has been named as the industry partner for UK Brain BioLink – aiming to tackle the “fragmented” nature of consent gathering for research projects by implementing a digital consent and community outreach programme.

Last year, we covered how Huma Therapeutics acquired iPLATO Healthcare with the aim of advancing their remote patient monitoring offer.

In other news around research, we recently covered the news that the secure research platform OpenSAFELY, originally designed to help develop understanding of COVID-19, is to be expanded to support research into other major diseases.