Novartis has kicked off a mobile research study for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) that collects data remotely via their smartphone.

The Evaluation of Evidence from Smart Phone Sensors and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Participants with Multiple Sclerosis (elevateMS) study, which was developed in partnership with Sage Bionetworks, will collect sensor-based data from physical tasks and symptoms.

The aim is to improve understanding of the daily challenges for patients with MS and also discover new potential measurements of treatment effectiveness through real-time data collection from participants in their everyday life.

The elevateMS study uses a mobile application built on the Apple ResearchKit platform, which allows study participants to to take part in research outside of the clinical setting and enables researchers to collect data in the participant's everyday environment.

"As physicians, we always want to know how our patients with MS are doing on the treatments we prescribe," said Stanley Cohan, medical director, Providence Multiple Sclerosis Center, Portland, Oregon, and study advisor.

"With the elevateMS app, study participants can frequently document their symptoms in a personal health story. In turn, this data may provide researchers with new ways to look at disease progression and treatment effectiveness.”

Multiple sclerosis affects around 400,000 people in the US.