Cooper Innovation Center partners with DigiCARE Realized to identify early-stage Alzheimer’s

Cooper University Health Care’s Innovation Center and DigiCARE Realized have signed a partnership agreement to test an artificial intelligence-powered technology designed to identify undiagnosed cases of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

DigiCARE Realized is a virtual-first company with headquarters in Old Bridge that commercializes evidence-based solutions for modernizing care for complex brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

“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,” Bethann Mercanti, director of clinical operations at the Cooper Neurological Institute, who will serve as principal investigator for the project at Cooper, said. “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.”

Researchers and clinicians from Cooper’s Neurological Institute will work with DigiCARE Realized’s team to implement this innovative approach to standardize routine brain care and improve patient outcomes.

The company’s machine-learning technology is deployed through the hospital’s electronic health records system. The AI technology processes routinely collected data, both structured and unstructured. This technology has demonstrated the ability to review high volumes of patient health records in hours versus what would take clinicians days to review.

“Early detection is a key step in timely and accurate diagnosis so that patients can get emerging treatments and early-stage interventions,” Brittany Cassin, DigiCARE Realized CEO, said. “This is an exciting and critical time in Alzheimer’s treatment, given recent FDA-approved treatments and encouraging pipeline products. 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.”

Last year, Cassin was a finalist in the first-ever National Institute of Aging Startup Challenge that 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 an approximately three-year prediction horizon.

In the U.S. alone, Alzheimer’s disease currently affects 6.5 million people and over 11 million caregivers. National costs are projected to reach $1 trillion by 2050. Current early detection approaches for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive diseases are not standardized or scalable for urban and rural communities. Data also suggest that nearly 50% of patients with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases are undiagnosed. For those that are diagnosed, it can take up to five years of multiple medical visits.

“The Cooper Innovation Center was founded in 2022 to advance biomedical research and technologies developed by Cooper physicians and researchers and through collaboration with industry,” Neal Lemon, director of the Cooper Innovation Center, said. “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.”