Rune Labs translates Apple Watch data into Parkinson's insights with FDA nod

For neurological diseases like Parkinson’s, the shape a patient’s treatment plan takes over time often depends on self-reported symptoms and progress updates.

With the importance of accurate self-reporting, a spate of apps and other digital tools have cropped up to help patients keep track of their symptoms. One such tool newly cleared by the FDA takes the concept a step further, bringing in the Apple Watch’s movement-analysis abilities to take on some of the tracking itself.

Rune Labs’ StrivePD software includes apps for both the iPhone and the Apple Watch that can automatically collect certain data points and can be used to self-report others.

“When people with Parkinson’s are prescribed new medications, adjusting how much to take and when to take it until they find something that works can be a lengthy process. StrivePD helps people to track their symptoms and improvements, accelerating the time to an optimal medication schedule,” said Aura Oslapas, who was co-founder and co-CEO of Strive until its 2019 acquisition by Rune Labs and who has Parkinson’s herself.

The StrivePD app uses the Apple Watch’s technology to monitor physical activity, sleep patterns and vital signs as well as more disease-specific symptoms like dyskinesia and tremor, changes in gait and frequency of falls.

In addition to those automatically collected data points, users can program medication reminders into the app and track adherence while also adding in more qualitative symptoms like daily emotions and overall well-being.

The software is made even smarter with the integration of deep brain stimulation devices. Patients who have been implanted with the Percept PC neurostimulator from Rune partner Medtronic, for example, can link the device to the StrivePD platform, further fleshing out the picture of their treatment progress.

All of the collected information is automatically compiled into a report that patients can view in the app and share with their caregivers and healthcare providers.

The potential benefits of the app are twofold, according to Rune. The more immediate effects will come from its use as a symptom tracker, giving physicians a clearer idea of how Parkinson’s patients are reacting to certain medications so they can be adjusted as needed.

Down the line, however, Rune is also hoping to see the app’s collected data be used to improve clinical trial recruitment and design.

“As we have seen in oncology, the introduction of large quantities of real-world data has the power to transform drug development and fundamentally change disease prognosis. This clearance is a major step toward building a similar paradigm in neurology,” said CEO Brian Pepin.

“With all of the data we will collect and the patients we will reach through this clearance, we will make sure the right participants enroll in trials and help our pharma and medtech partners run more efficient trials with higher-quality outcomes data, thereby enabling more therapies to come to market quickly to help those suffering from Parkinson’s,” Pepin said.