Verily, Stanford & Duke Partner On Long-Term Health Study

April 19, 2017 - Written By Daniel Fuller

Verily, the life sciences branch of Alphabet, announced that it has partnered up with Stanford Medicine and Duke University School of Medicine for a groundbreaking new study meant primarily to study health, rather than sickness. Dubbed Project Baseline, and while not the only study in its category, Project Baseline is promising in that it will follow a massive 10,000 participant panel across a study period of at least four years. Patients who fall ill during the study will undergo special monitoring, with the goal being to get a good picture of what happens when illness begins, as well as the transition a healthy individual undergoes to become diseased. The study is meant to paint a picture of the commonalities between healthy individuals, and will begin open enrollment some time in the next few months, accepting participants at select sites in North Carolina and California.

Participants will be asked to make regular clinical visits and complete surveys every now and then, but the centerpiece of the study is a wrist-worn data gathering device made by Verily. The clinical visits will involve routine data gathering procedures like imaging and biospecimen screening. Between the device, the visits, and the surveys, Verily hopes to stay on top of patients stats in areas like their behavior, environment, molecular, and genetic factors, and how these all factor into overall health. One of the key goals will be to identify prominent risk factors and telltale signs of a participant getting sick, and monitoring that transition from health to disease closely to understand how it happens and what changes happen to the patient along the way.

During the study, Verily and their partners will be looking to the medical community at large, including the worlds of academia, professional medicine, and specialized research. Patient data stripped of identifying information will eventually be available to qualifying researchers for analysis and potential use in projects. The press release from Verily however, did not go over what it means to be a qualifying researcher, how to go about requesting the data, exactly what data can be released, or when qualifying researchers can begin putting in requests for the data.