The Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF) has teamed up with data analytics company H1 to diversify populations in Parkinson’s Disease (PD) studies.

MJFF will use H1’s Trial Landscape solution to engage patients in research and trials. Particularly, the platform will provide data about populations traditionally underrepresented in research. The partnership arises following the US Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) guidance to increase racial and ethnic diversity in clinical trials. The move is to reflect the increasingly diverse national population.

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“If you have a platform that allows you access to performance data, diversity and inclusion data, and claims data, you have a new capability to fully assess site selection and investigator selection that will give you a higher probability of picking the right sites and the right patients,” Chris Gardella, H1’s Vice President of Trial Landscape, Payor and Digital Health told Medical Device Network.

Gardella added that delays, which are already common in clinical trials, might increase with the FDA mandate and that MJFF’s partnership will streamline the foundation’s search for physicians involved in PD treatment and assimilating information about patient populations.

MJFF, which funded research published in The Lancet Neurology last month, is already using community outreach and digital media to drive volunteer engagement for studies. The foundation also has an online trial finder where people can be matched with studies. The partnership with H1 represents a new avenue that leverages AI-driven technology to create a holistic view of study landscapes. 

“It’s hard to even identify where people are living with Parkinson’s or with a Parkinson’s connection. A part of the reason we entered this partnership [with H1] was to take that first step in identifying who we should be working with towards engaging inclusive populations,” Maggie Kuhl, MJFF’s Vice President of Research Engagement told Medical Device Network.

Beyond the framework of study insights, Kuhl also explains that the partnership will provide benefits upstream of research opportunities.

“General education and understanding where the densities of providers and patients are located are important components so that we can plan in person events or liaise with more community groups in those areas. As we learn more about the biology of PD and the clinical experience of it as well, we are interested in engaging researchers who are not traditionally self-described as ‘Parkinson scientists’. A database [such as H1’s] will be critical in efforts to grow our scientific audience.”