NIH/NCI Contracts IAI to Develop System for Monitoring Cognitive Impairment and Dysfunction in Cancer Patients

A cancer diagnosis is a catastrophic event in any life. While many cancers show minimal or no symptoms, an actual diagnosis introduces significant stress responses that involve endocrine and central nervous system changes that can drastically affect the person’s quality of life. Persistent cognitive defects are a frequent complaint of cancer patients during both the treatment and survivorship phases of cancer. Recognizing this, there is a critical human need to be able to assess the cognitive state of any individual both pre- and post-diagnosis and treatment. There is growing realization that cognitive testing procedures currently available do not adequately screen for and assess cognitive dysfunction. To address this problem, IAI and collaborators will develop the MIND CAP system – Monitoring cognitive Impairment and Dysfunction in Cancer Patients. This work will employ a quantitative approach to select existing cognitive tests from the clinical literature that are sensitive enough to detect cognitive decrements in the domains most relevant to the breast cancer population. In collaboration with an expert panel of oncologist subject matter experts, IAI will identify the cognitive domains most affected. The resulting system will include a web-based portal for test administration and result monitoring, and a mobile patient application for taking tests and self-monitoring. MIND CAP will select cognitive tests quantitatively through the use of an innovative algorithm to assess relevant cognitive domains. These tests will be brief and adaptive, with the capability of detecting cognitive impairments experienced by patients. The innovative mobile interface will remind patients to take the tests, allow logging of cognitive complaints, and alert them to significant cognitive decline. A provider portal will allow providers or researchers to assign tests, monitor progress, and be alerted to significant cognitive decline.