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Patient Scientist Makes Science News

When we started ImYoo, we recognized a need to connect patients in their own pursuit of health with medical researchers and clinicians trying to help them. In our original 2020 Nature Scientific Reports paper we wrote “our platform makes collection and profiling of human immune cells less invasive, less expensive and as such more scalable than traditional methods rooted in large venous blood draws.”

(Image source: Science News)

Today, that idea is now a growing trend as recognized by this month’s feature article in Science News. Here’s an excerpt with a quote from CEO and co-founder Tatyana Dobreva:

“Study designs informed by patient experience often prioritize accommodations for people with different levels of symptoms or access to care, meaning a more diverse group of patients may be able to participate. With a patient led, ‘decentralized’ approach to research, ‘we can reach more people in more diverse areas’ who don’t live near medical facilities in big cities or aren’t able to travel for clinical trials, Dobreva says."

You can read the full article here.

“Patient scientist” is how we refer to our study participants - because they're not subjects, they're the experts of their lived experience, and they have to think critically to actively participate in discovery. Every patient has the goal to shed the patient label and become healthy again. Active participation in the greater scientific knowledge discovery process is one way to do that. And what we’ve learned is that when you remove the requirement of visiting a clinic to draw a blood sample and it’s coupled with high throughput single-cell analysis, we can amass greater knowledge from more diverse populations faster and with higher completion rates.

Last year, the FDA took note: “Decentralized clinical trials and digital health technologies are gaining momentum in medical research, allowing research participants to partake in trials remotely using state-of-the-art digital health technologies.”  The FDA also issued further guidance in support of decentralized trials to spur greater and more diverse patient participation. 

Geography, time and cost are the causes of major blindspots in traditional approaches to medical research. The clinical trial you could be eligible for is either in your area or it’s not. “Location” is one of the major search parameters on for this precise reason. You either can make time to visit a clinic repeatedly for sample collection, or you can’t. Logistics and proximity matter a lot. And of course clinics are expensive to maintain and operate.  So as a result, we simply do not collect enough data from enough people consistently to generate the data needed to drive insight and accelerate discovery. 

But that’s what we’re changing along with all our patients and partners. By prioritizing patient access, ImYoo removes the variables of location and time while lowering sampling and analysis costs. The future of medicine is at home in the growing numbers of patient scientists who are now driving smarter and faster biomedical research.

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