Arcascope, a small startup based out of Virginia is leading some very interesting research in the field of Circadian rhythms.
The company makes software with the objective to bring validated sleep and circadian science to the mHealth marketplace.
The importance of Circadian rhythms
Circadian rhythm is tied to your 24-hour body clock and includes physiological and behavioral rhythms like sleeping. The circadian clock plays a physical, mental, and behavioral role that responds to light and dark. It influences body functions such as your sleep schedule, appetite body temperature, blood pressure, and more.
Sometimes Circadian rhythm can go out of sync. Some factors that cause it are medications you take, stress, overnight shift hours, or travel that spans across time zones, and more.
Arcascope is trying to innovate products that are at the intersection of mobile tech, mathematics and biology.
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The SYNC app from Arcascope
Arcascope just launched a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of its SYNC app. The app is designed as a lightning intervention for cancer related fatigue.
Fatigue is a major problem for cancer patients, and one that can persist long after treatment ends. Although estimates vary widely, approximately 33% of individuals with breast cancer report persistent fatigue up to ten years into survivorship according to NCBI/NIH.
Recent work has demonstrated that light therapy may mitigate or reduce fatigue levels in both cancer patients and cancer survivors.
This new trial seeks to assess how lighting interventions distributed through a mobile app affect fatigue, sleep, and quality of life across three populations of cancer patients: breast cancer and prostate cancer, and patients who have undergone stem cell transplant.
The company is collaborating with National Cancer Institute and University of Michigan Rogel Cancer center to conduct this new clinical trial.
Participants will use an Apple Watch or Fitbit Charge 3 along with blue light blocking glasses and Arcascope’s SYNC app to combat fatigue-related symptoms.
It is generally accepted that blue light blocking glasses can help mitigate digital fatigue and other sleep-affecting symptoms.
NIH and Arcascope
Arcascope worked with the National Institute of health and received a seed grant in 2018 from the agency to develop a mobile application for circadian wellness in cancer patients.
Measuring circadian rhythms in the lab can be time-consuming and expensive. Arcascope has developed mobile applications for estimating circadian rhythms in a noninvasive way using mathematical models.
The app tracks motion and activity and uses these factors to predict both light and the user’ s internal time in a way that accounts for disruptions to user’s normal schedule.
The mobile app for cancer patients recommends lighting interventions to correct disrupted circadian rhythms as well as the best times for drug consumption for optimal circadian effect.
This is another example of how new startups are exploring the area of mHealth using a combination of wearables science, mathematical models, and biology to help discover new applications.
The company just announced the launch of the clinical trial this week. Results from the trial are estimated to be made available in 2023.