Hardly a day goes by that AI isn’t mentioned in a news report or conversation on how technology is affecting our lives. This is also true for discussions about healthcare advancements, from cancer therapies and precision medicine, to simply being able to serve patients better in the limited time doctors have before their next appointment. Here we share how Luna is building partnerships and delivering the benefits of AI to individuals, group leaders, and researchers, always doing so while protecting people’s data rights. AI is already powering Luna applications that can improve health research, including automated information extraction to standardize research data and AI model training with information that reflects the diversity of communities. As with all innovation, companies must proceed cautiously to preserve the advances and guard against the risks.

Information Extraction Using AI

One of clearest use cases for AI in health research is extracting relevant information from unstructured medical and clinical records, and structuring it into a format that is conducive to research and analysis. For example, the Luna platform has AI technology built into its ability to extract information from genetic test reports and store it in a standard format for use in health research. AI replaces the need for a researcher to scroll through long reports that often have different formats and test naming conventions. This also supports members’ ability to share their genetic information in the studies they join so that researchers can advance therapeutic development. As with all data shared on Luna, genetic data extracted with the assistance of AI is fully under the control of the member.

Community Data Improves AI Models

A significant hope of AI is that it can be used to predict how individuals will respond to various treatments or procedures, perhaps even predict if they will develop a disease. In order to reach this promise of AI, researchers must first train models and then test them using data from outcomes of patients with various diseases as well as future diagnoses of patients without disease.

As Luna has previously written, a critical consideration of AI-powered research is the quality and completeness of data used to build or “train” an AI model. If the data used to train the AI model are more representative of some groups of people than others, the predictions from the model may also be systematically worse for unrepresented or under-representative groups. It’s well documented that existing health databases lack diversity due to poor inclusion of underrepresented populations. Luna addresses this by going after a major issue in research participation – trust – by enabling participant control over whether or not their data is used in research or in the development of new AI models.

Communities organized on Luna have seen strong representation of diverse participants. With inclusive representation, Luna community leaders are already drawing the attention of researchers and industry looking to leverage AI.

Luna’s AI Partnerships

Luna is excited about the potential of AI to improve and accelerate many aspects of health and personal well-being if deployed responsibly. To further develop and promote the coupling of ethical review with AI technology and data control, Luna has become a founding member of a soon-to-be announced AI consortium focused on health data research and health technology development. This consortium will operate with an international perspective concerning health data use. As a founding member, Luna can shape policy developments that will be incorporated into future health research AI usage guidelines and governance.

Stay tuned for this announcement!

The Importance of Ethical Innovation

Society will benefit from innovation that is ethical and aligned with the values of communities. AI innovation is no exception, and has already revealed its share of challenges and concerns. We see the review of studies by institutional review boards (IRBs) or research ethics committees, focused on protecting individuals and ensuring ethical acceptability, along with the individual’s control over the use their data, as a powerful mechanism to ensure that the AI models developed are consistent with the values of the member and our society at large. We also see communities organized on Luna as playing a critical role in accelerating the best of what AI technology can deliver by ensuring patients and community leaders play a role as partners in innovation.

About Luna

Luna’s suite of tools and services connects communities with researchers to accelerate health discoveries. With participation from more than 180 countries and communities advancing causes including disease-specific, public health, environmental, and emerging interests, Luna empowers these collectives to gather a wide range of data—health records, lived experience, disease history, genomics, and more—for research.

Luna gives academia and industry everything they need from engagement with study participants to data analysis across multiple modalities using a common data model. The platform is compliant with clinical regulatory requirements and international consumer data privacy laws.

By providing privacy-protected individuals a way to continually engage, Luna transforms the traditional patient-disconnected database into a dynamic, longitudinal discovery environment where researchers, industry, and community leaders can leverage a range of tools to surface insights and trends, study disease natural history and biomarkers, and enroll in clinical studies and trials.