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Treating Stem Cell Patients with Immersive Mental Health Therapy

Stem cell transplants are procedures that restore blood-forming stem cells in cancer patients who have had theirs damaged by very high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Once someone receives donor cells, they need to stay in the hospital for about a month until the renewed immune system starts working. During this intense hospitalization period, patients can’t leave their rooms as their immune system is wiped out while their bone marrow is re-generated from scratch. As a result, with no contact with the outside world, these patients endure significant short-term and long-term distress that affects their quality of life (QOL) and their physical and psychological well-being - both in the near term and long-term.

Patients undergoing stem cell transplantation experience immense physical and psychological symptom burden during and after their hospitalizations. Interventions to support patients during treatment and reduce psychological distress are currently lacking.

It is reported that patients who receive integrated psychological interventions during their hospital stays have fewer depression and PTSD symptoms and better QOL than those who receive standard transplant care alone. However, currently, there are no scalable integrated psychological interventions that are available to these patients, often due to a lack of mental and behavioral health therapists and social workers. When therapists are available, the interventions they offer are often talk-focused, and thus, non-measurable. This makes continuous psychosocial care for cancer for these patients difficult.

Our therapy is delivered daily for 10-15 minutes over the patient's 30-day hospital stay and it involves several proven treatment modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy. Our Digital Therapeutic is intended to help with distress management in blood cancer patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) in an in-clinic setting. Our platform is a non-pharmacological, 100% digital, distress management tool that manages the symptoms associated with in-clinic anxiety, depression, and stress. We are in the development phase of this intervention and are planning to launch our first randomized control trial in the coming months.

We are working towards being able to offer this gamified digital intervention for the 1.24 million blood cancer patients around the world and are dedicated to making psychosocial care more accessible and effective.

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