Aural, TGen Collaborate on Trial Assessing Effects of Acupuncture on Recently Diagnosed ALS Patients

Alejandra Viviescas, PhD avatar

by Alejandra Viviescas, PhD |

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Aural Analytics and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) will collaborate on a new acupuncture clinical trial to assess how the treatment affects speech in people recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

TGen, a nonprofit medical research institute, will sponsor the upcoming trial, designed for people who have been diagnosed with ALS for less than 12 months. Besides evaluating the levels of blood biomarkers, the study also will track changes in patients’ speech. To generate the data, participants will collect speech samples using a mobile application developed by Aural.

Aural developed the application (app) using its advanced speech analytics platform — a software that analyzes audio patterns in a speaker’s voice.

The app, which is easy to use, inexpensive, and provides results in real-time, will evaluate subtle changes in the participants’ ability to speak. It will track their progress as they undergo acupuncture treatment for ALS.

By providing objective outcome measures based on the samples recorded by the participants, the platform will allow researchers to evaluate critical areas affected by ALS, such as motor control and cognitive linguistics.

“Integrating the Aural Analytics platform technology to measure vocal biomarkers [patterns of speech] of the ALS clinical trial participants will generate data that will allow us to leverage the latest computational techniques in hopes of assessing ALS progression and treatment response,” Winnie Liang, associate professor of TGen’s neurogenomics division, said in a press release.

The app can be downloaded onto any mobile phone or tablet, allowing study participants to collect speech data non-invasively, and from home. This will reduce the number of patient visits during the study.

“This collaboration utilizes our platform’s ALS module and will provide study researchers a panel of objective, clinically-relevant measures of speech change. We will also provide an easy-to-use mobile application that allows patients to comply with study requirements from the comfort of their home, an especially important need for patients with this difficult neurological disease,” said Daniel Jones, co-founder and CEO of Aural.

“TGen is a world-renowned and highly regarded leader in independent research, and we very much look forward to working with them on this study,” Jones added.

TGen is an affiliate of City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.  These non-profit organizations together provide the infrastructure to perform groundbreaking, independent research.