- One of our co-founders participated in clinical trials in her career, where she saw firsthand the gaps in how enrollment, consent and compensation worked.
- In the global context of an emergency situation worldwide with COVID-19, we need thousands of participants quickly who need to feel safe to contribute and their information, know it is kept private and secure, while still being verifiable.
- This is an old problem inspiring us in a current crisis: Henrietta Lacks in the 1950s provided one of the most important cell lines in medical research, while never getting paid for her contribution.
- Creating a participant focused model - re-balancing power into the hands of participants. Addressing the need to think from a patient/participant perspective.
- Looking for a business problem would truly benefit from blockchain.
- Need to facilitate more clinical trials, and ensure money flows to small/medium researchers as well as large organizations. Connect dots to needed participants and incentivize them correctly.
What it does
- A secure mobile matching system for individuals and researchers to anonymously share data, and reward participants who help find cures including for COVID-19.
- Participants can join, get authorized, share data by authorizing data providers.
- Participants are strongly identified.
- Researchers can incentivize participants.
- Researchers (and other data consumers) can register events upon providing relevant data into the system.
- Researchers can confirm participation in trials/events by Participants and then the system enables compensation.
- When users are paid, the system enables a transaction fee to be captured by the company.
- All actions are cryptographically provabable (signed)
- Transparent audit trail of transactions using blockchain.
- Blockchain provides public proofs such as “this person participated in this study” which is cryptographically signed by participants. Anyone could check the proof and see "this company signed this with their private key"
- Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence approach is integrated with blockchain technology. Through classification we match participants to trials. The ability for more advanced AI features such as prediction can be added in the future.
How we built it
- EOSIO smart contract written in c++.
- EOSIO development tools for smart contracts.
- Product design interaction mockup created in Adobe XD available for interactive viewing online: https://xd.adobe.com/view/279e3278-dbae-478b-6f38-2d23618ad6c3-51af/. Link with a product walkthrough viewable here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LGfWHLh6Ww.
- Video editing in Final Cut Pro X.
- Unique contract design so each user does not need to have a chain account and we have our own account system in our app design.
- The contract uses a flexible sub-account system and internal accounting to reduce reliance on chain accounts. Each account in our system is responsible to connect with onchain so our contract can work with existing authorization implementations.
- Each of our primary participant types (user, data producer, data consumer) is stored in a dedicated table. Actions allows sub accounts to authorize all major types of participation in the system.
- First class of actors “user” can be registered by system or can register themselves, can specificity who invited them (referral system), can reward referral and share earned percentages on rewards.
- The system has a Metadata field for unstructured data to allow expansion over time. The user has structured data in the form of ‘data types’. The system might have hundreds of different data types that users can whitelist for sharing.
- The user can also browse events. If they have the right kind of data in the system the event will allow them to apply, when the user applies organizers of the event can review and accept or deny.
Challenges we ran into
- When thinking about data structures, it’s not always easy to predict the most efficient way to store data up-front. After some initial problems due to an over-opinionated data structure, we reworked things to keep our relationships between data more flexible. Additionally, using secondary tables to store additional information (instead of trying to fit all data in a row of a single table) proved to be an effective way to organize data.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Crowdfunding the rewarding of participants in clinical trials.
- Connecting gamification actions to specific badges (such as donating giving a social good badge) opens up a whole dimension of interactivity that expands the value.
- The sub account system we implemented is not something we have seen implemented in any other contract before. We believe the level of flexibility this affords our contracts is very high and will ease further development of the platform by enabling many different kinds of innovative authorization solutions.
- Solving key pain points in the rigid current system for finding participants for clinical trials, which could prove helpful now in finding a cure and key therapies for COVID-19, and in the future for new challenges.
What we learned
- Having user reward tokens tied to on-chain entries enables a whole new dimension of gamification that can reach beyond the app itself and into wider markets.
- The details of a transaction based business model on a blockchain.
- EOSIO blockchain has the correct characteristics for our use case, over other blockchains. Ability to scale effectively and has needed speed which is required for addressing COVID 19 scale use cases.
What's next for MyChainOmics
- Formalize the incorporation of the business.
- Connect the front end and back-end to finish MVP
- Test COVID-19 trials on the platform