Cooper University Health Care’s Innovation Center is teaming up with an emerging Old Bridge-headquartered technology company in an effort “to change the way we detect and treat Alzheimer’s disease.”
The Innovation Center announced May 9 it signed a partnership agreement with DigiCARE Realized to test an artificial intelligence-powered technology designed to identify undiagnosed cases of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Bethann Mercanti, director of clinical operations at the Cooper Neurological Institute, will serve as principal investigator for the project.
“We are excited to work collaboratively with DigiCARE Realized to further study and develop this technology, which has the potential to change the way we detect and treat Alzheimer’s disease and other related conditions earlier in their course,” Mercanti said in a statement.
“As a leading academic health system and the region’s most-advanced program for treating neurological conditions, Cooper is proud to be on the forefront of advancing technology that may revolutionize Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and treatment,” Mercanti added.
Under the partnership, Cooper’s Neurological Institute will work with the team from DigiCARE Realized to deploy the technology through the hospital’s electronic health records system. The AI-based tech will be able to process routinely collected data in hours versus what it may take clinicians days to review, the hospital said.
DigiCARE Realized CEO Brittany Cassin was a finalist in the 2022 National Institute of Aging Startup Challenge, which focused on fostering diversity and innovation in treating aging conditions.
“The DigiCARE Realized technology detects patients with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia, such as Lewy body dementia and frontotemporal dementia, with nearly 80% performance accuracy for approximately a three-year prediction horizons,” according to the partnership announcement.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 190,000 New Jerseyans age 65 and older are living with the disease. Outside the emotional cost to families, it currently costs the state’s Medicaid program $2.1 billion.
“Early detection is a key step in timely and accurate diagnosis so that patients can get emerging treatments and early-stage interventions,” said DigiCARE Realized CEO Brittany Cassin. “This partnership demonstrates our collective commitment to modernizing care in brain health for all patients, especially where we know there is higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease in communities of color.”
Neal Lemon, director of the Cooper Innovation Center, said the facility was founded in 2022 for initiatives such as this.
“We are excited to work with DigiCARE Realized, in further development of this AI-technology that addresses a very significant patient need in our aging population,” Lemon said.