Global company working with University to test new app for MS patients

The University of Plymouth is working with a global pharmaceutical company to test a new app to help people with multiple sclerosis (MS) better manage their symptoms.

Roche, a world-leader in personalised healthcare, has developed an app called Floodlight MS, with five activities collecting data on hand function, walking ability, and cognition – areas commonly affected in people living with MS.

Floodlight™ MS is a science-based smartphone app that enables people living with MS to objectively assess their physical and cognitive function in between medical appointments. The app creates for clinicians a record of data to inform future conversations and enrich clinical decisions.  

Roche has a longstanding relationship with Professor Jeremy Hobart and the MS research group at the University of Plymouth to co-design projects that help improve the quality of life for people with MS. Identifying a collaboration that could help move the new app forward, Professor Hobart made an introduction to the Motor Control Lab in the University’s new Brain Research and Imaging Centre.

The lab, led by Professor in Rehabilitation, Jon Marsden, contains world-leading technology that will enable Roche to test and validate the app’s accuracy, while continually feeding the results into product development.

The work will see participants use Floodlight MS on provided mobile phones, with researchers independently exploring if the measures recorded by the device are comparable to the measures of movement quality recorded in the lab itself, therefore ensuring that the app is working as intended.

Licinio Craveiro, Principal Global Medical Director for Roche, said: 

“Roche’s mission is to ‘do now what patients need next’, so we’re looking to design, build and test solutions to help people overcome some of the world’s biggest health challenges.

“To do this, we need state-of-the-art technology and science at our fingertips, so we were delighted to be introduced to Professor Marsden and his team at the Brain Research and Imaging Centre. We’re really looking forward to testing and moving Floodlight MS forward to help people with MS to manage their condition.”

Professor Marsden said: 

“BRIC contains world-leading technology to understand human movement, behaviour and neurological conditions, and the Motor Control Lab is all about understanding how we control movement and functional ability and how it is affected by pathology.

“We were pleased to collaborate with Roche on an innovative project to validate the Floodlight MS app and, as with everything we do in research, we look forward to seeing the product help people who need it most.”

To find out more about the project, including ways to support or get involved, contact floodlight@plymouth.ac.uk


Brain Research & Imaging Centre

The Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC), the most advanced multi-modal brain imaging facility in the South West, will provide the sea-change to enhance the quality of our research in human neuroscience.

With seven cutting-edge human research laboratories, BRIC will include an MRI suite with the most advanced 3-Tesla scanner in the region. It will critically advance our enquiry toward the most advanced brain research, improved radiological diagnostics and better patient care.

Find out more about the facility

<p>BRIC building development, December 2020</p>