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The Michael J. Fox Foundation and Sage Bionetworks Launch $25,000 BEAT-PD DREAM Challenge

NEW YORK (Jan. 13, 2020) – The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) and Sage Bionetworks have partnered with Evidation Health, Northwestern University, Radboud University Medical Center, and BRAIN Commons to launch the BEAT-PD (Biomarker and Endpoint Assessment to Track Parkinson’s Disease) DREAM Challenge. BEAT-PD is a data challenge designed to benchmark new methods to predict Parkinson’s disease severity. Winners from the Challenge will share a $25,000 prize.

Recent advances in digital health have demonstrated the potential of sensor-based technologies for quantitative, remote monitoring of health – particularly for conditions affecting motor function such as Parkinson’s disease, a chronic neurological disorder that affects more than one million people in the U.S. alone. Devices, including smartphones, watches, and fitness trackers, can measure symptoms related to Parkinson’s in more detail and at a higher frequency than in-clinic assessments. The barrier is the lack of standardized methods to convert sensor-based data into digital biomarkers for patients whose symptoms can vary.

“Sensor data holds potential for helping us understand the daily experience of Parkinson’s patients and how disease progresses over time,” says Mark Frasier, PhD, senior vice president of research programs at MJFF. “We look forward to seeing what the teams can accomplish with the data and to further develop biomarkers in Parkinson’s.”

In a previous data challenge, teams proved that disease status and symptom severity could be predicted using data collected during the completion of specific tasks. The BEAT-PD Challenge builds on this by attempting to determine whether disease severity can be assessed from passive sensor data from consumer electronics, collected during daily life, not pre-set tasks, which will bring us closer to the promise of at-home monitoring of disease progression. Teams participating in the Challenge will have access to raw sensor (accelerometer and gyroscope) time-series data that can be used to predict individual medication state and symptom severity.

“By focusing on data collected in the home environment without supervision, we are targeting the harder problem of understanding the personalized variation in disease burden,” says Larsson Omberg, PhD, vice president of systems biology at Sage Bionetworks. “Ideally, insights derived from the challenge can aid in the development of digital biomarkers for PD.”

Submissions to the BEAT-PD Challenge are due by April 22, 2020. For more information, interested applicants are invited to attend a webinar on Feb. 4, 2020, at 8 a.m. PST. The winning team and a runner-up will be announced in May 2020.

Register for the challenge:

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