The idea is to see if AI can help to minimize medication side effects and improve quality of life. Participants will be asked to use an interactive mobile platform to report symptoms and problems, such as nausea, pain or fatigue, as well as their sleep habits and how they are feeling overall.

“The software uses AI to make evidence-based treatment recommendations to the patient’s doctor,” UC Davis gynecologic oncologist Rebecca Brooks said. “It isn’t that we think a computer can do a better job than doctors. We want to explore augmenting the care provided by an oncologist by generating AI tailored for that specific patient, available at their fingertips. This helps them get the support they need when they need it and helps to keep track of the details.”

Brooks is one of the co-principal investigators for what is being called the VIRGO Project or Value-Based Integrated Recommendation Software Guiding Ovarian treatment. The VIRGO software is integrated into the electronic medical record of patients enrolled in the study and securely delivered to their doctors.

To conduct the study, the researchers are recruiting 200 women who have been diagnosed with ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer. Each participant will be followed for one year. Half will use the app for their surveys, while the other half will receive standard care with surveys done less frequently and manually.

“Many ovarian cancer patients will not be cured, and the side effects from the ongoing medications they take to control their disease can be hard to get used to,” Brooks said. “AI is available in real time and that can make a real difference in addressing things like nausea and pain as quickly as possible so that the patient will feel motivated to stay on the medication and feel supported.”

The patient app also gives real-time AI regarding nutritional intake, visits, lab results, education, and caregiver support. Patients will receive customized information that will help them take charge of their care and make decisions, such as whether to have surgery or chemotherapy first.

The responsiveness provided by the app platform may show which maintenance medications are more tolerable and have fewer side effects — and that might lead to treatments allowing patients to get more enjoyment from life.

The study is being funded by a grant from GlaxoSmithKline. Along with UC Davis Health, patients are being enrolled from UCLA Health, UC San Diego, UC Irvine Health, and UC San Francisco Health.