RALEIGH – A startup in Raleigh backed by investor and Pink Ceiling CEO Cindy Eckert, is unveiling Thursday a different approach to dealing with Alzheimer’s that is powered by artificial intelligence, not drugs. And its solution is part of a new effort launched by the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement Prevention Center at Cleveland Clinic, an internationally respected medical institution.
uMETHOD has developed a patented approach that it says acts as a preventive of Alzheimer’s since the solution titled ExtND METHOD enables doctors to design plans specific to individuals. ExtND is among the offerings from the Women’s Alzheimer’s center, which also was unveiled today in Las Vegas, according to a spokesperson for uMETHOD.
Several medical institutions already are deploying the method. More than 5 million people are currently afflicted with Alzheimer’s and the disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the US, according to the Alzheimer’s Assocation.
Vik Chandra, CEO of uMETHOD Health who is a former IBM executive, says the new approach enables development of personalized, preventive strategies for individuals. Where drugs have failed, combined treatments can imrpove outcomes.
“Over the last 20 years, over 150 medications have failed in FDA trials for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers, including those on our Scientific Advisory Board, have long recognized that Alzheimer’s disease is a complex disease and will need personalized combinations of treatments to improve patient outcomes,” Chandra tells WRAL TechWire.
“However, a combination therapy for Alzheimer’s is complex and depends upon thousands of datapoints (genome, blood tests, medical history, medications, lifestyle etc.) on a patient. uMETHOD is the first company to develop a personalized combination treatment methodology and bring it to market.”
Federal regulatory approval is not required, he added.
“We are a decision support software and do not need FDA approval,” he explains.
” Our treatment recommendations are provided to healthcare professionals who use them in the care of their patients.”
uMETHOD also is working on other precision medicine strategies for chronic diseases and is focusing on personalized care. Product offerings include:
- RestoreU METHOD for Memory Loss
- RenewU METHOD for Depression
ENDORSEMENTS FOR APPROACH
In the announcement of the technology, uMETHOD included a supportive statement from Christina Noble, Chief Growth Officer at Sonora Quest Laboratories in Arizona.
“Several neurological diseases are now recognized as complex diseases with multiple underlying causes. Dementia and the spectrum of Alzheimer’s disease are the most prevalent.” Noble said. “Personalized methodologies, such as those developed by uMETHOD Health, are the future for prevention and treatment of complex neurological disorders. The growing use of artificial intelligence has the potential to transform the care and outcomes of complex diseases.”
uMETHOD and Sorona have been working together for nearly two years.
While not mentioning uMETHOD by name, the new Cleveland Clinic program focuses on prevention and an individualized approach.
“Our program is the first to pair prevention strategies with a woman’s individualized risk to help women make tailored, lasting behavior changes that promote brain health and reduce risk,” said Dr. Jessica Caldwell, director of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Prevention Center.
HOW IT WORKS
ExtND METHOD is designed to attack potential cognitive decline through several steps:
- Proprietary AI interprets data from blood and urine tests
- medical history
- matches data against current Alzheimer’s research
- produces individual care plans
“uMETHOD’s methodologies are enhanced regularly to incorporate new research, so doctors apply the latest medical knowledge to the care
of their patients,” uMETHOD noted.
While many drugs have been developed and tested as Alzheimer’s treatments, none have proved effective in modifying its progression, uMETHOD pointed out.
“The financial impact of Alzheimer’s disease to individuals, their families, and to the health system is large.” Chandra says in the announcement. “Our society spends over $250 billion annually on the care of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Availability of
uMETHOD’s practical and effective prevention methodologies should help shrink the accelerating costs of caring for the elderly.”
Eckert, who helped fund uMETHOD through her Pink Ceiling investment firm, sees the solution as a major addition to the fight against Alzheimer’s.
“Today is a landmark day for the company. When you consider that leading academic institutions are creating Alzheimer’s centers of excellence leveraging uMethod’s unique artificial intelligence, you understand how significant a mark they’re making on this field and patients lives,” she tells TechWire.
In the announcement, she adds: “This is a landmark moment in the fight to tackle a debilitating disease that disproportionately
“Women comprise two-thirds of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s today. It’s comforting to know that advanced technology is now being applied to stop decline or improve a remarkable 76% of patients. With uMETHOD’s technology as their backbone, major academic institutions will lead the way in bringing these new and effective treatment plans to the masses.”
Eckert also is CEO of Sprout Pharmaceuticals, which is best known for Addyi, a sexual disfunction treatment for women.
Original Post By: WRAL TechWire