Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can make our lives unpredictable. As a very organized person who loves to plan, it’s upsetting to me that IBD takes away a lot of my control over my own life and body.
- Will I flare again?
- What will I do if my current medication fails me?
- What other medications might help me?
- Will I be able to go through with tomorrow’s plans or will I be too fatigued?
- Will my IBD improve or get worse over time?
- Will I need surgery one day?
I’m in the process of finding this intricate balance of learning to let go of the things I can’t control, but also doing what I can to take back some control and make positive change:
I’ve joined a research study that will use biological samples to learn how to predict Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis flares!
Jump to a Section
- How the research study works
- Perks and benefits of joining the study
- The goal of this research program
- Why IBD Footprints is different than other IBD research studies
- How to get involved
- Unboxing video
How does this research study work, exactly?
All you do is track your daily symptoms on the Gali Health app, provide a single saliva sample, and provide a stool sample once a month. That’s it!
Here’s how the study works, step by step
- You decide how long you want to participate in the study, ranging from 4-12 months
- You download the Gali app and use it to track your daily symptoms, medications, and lifestyle choices at least twice a week.
- Gali mails you stool and saliva sample collection kits every month so you can take your monthly samples.
- Your kits come pre-labeled and pre-stamped, so it’s super easy to mail them back to Gali.
- Gali will send you in-app reminders about your samples and collection dates.
- You collect your stool and saliva samples at any point during your collection week and mail it within 24 hours. NO NEED TO KEEP IT FROZEN!
- You send Gali a chat through the app, letting her know what day you collected and mailed the samples.
- Your samples will be sent to Gali’s biobank to be frozen and later used for sequencing.
- After Gali analyzes your samples, you’ll receive easy-to-read reports in your app.
- You earn Gali points that you can later redeem for gift cards, swag, and other cool things!
Listen to Gali Health’s Director of Clinical Research, Arielle Radin, dive into even more detail with the wonderful Amber Tresca on episode #76 of her “About IBD” podcast.
Perks & Benefits
Why should you consider joining this research study? Here are the main perks and benefits this amazing program offers:
- You don’t need to hide your poop in a paper bag in your freezer! (I mean, that’s enough to sign me up)
- The return envelopes are already paid for! No writing addresses, printing shipping labels, or adding postage stamps
- You’ll get a FREE report of your gut microbiome! (Which is usually a $500 to $2,000 value)
- You get to choose how long you want to be involved in the study (and you can drop out at any time for any reason)
- It’s non-invasive, all done AT HOME, and you don’t have to change anything about your medications or lifestyle
- You’re helping push IBD research forward
What does Gali hope to accomplish through this research study?
The overarching goal of this study is to develop precision medicine solutions for people with IBD by collecting and analyzing data about our microbiome, genome, daily symptoms, and lifestyle choices.
What is precision medicine?
Precision medicine solutions for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis would be AWESOME because they would allow IBD patients to receive customized treatment, therapy, and care that’s tailored specifically to us.
For example, tests that predict when we are going to flare.
Or, diagnostics that tell us which medication will work best for our unique disease journey. (How cool would it be to know exactly what medication will work for you instead of having to go through the step therapy process!?)
Or, a brand-new drug that helps a subset of patients who all have something in common about their gut microbiome.
Gali Health hosted a research round table in July 2020 where researchers, doctors, and IBD patients talked about observational research studies, clinical trials, and precision medicine. Watch the recording on YouTube…I bet you’ll recognize some familiar faces.
Why is this research study different?
This IBD Footprints Research Program stands out from other IBD research studies for two main reasons.
1. Gali also tracks symptoms and lifestyle
Most other studies only pull data from stool and saliva samples.
But at Gali Health, we believe it’s crucial to also consider your daily symptoms and lifestyle choices, such as bloating, fatigue, number and quality of stools, quality of sleep, amount of exercise, etc. All of these can be tracked in the Gali app!
It’s so important to consider these symptoms and lifestyle choices in addition to the gut microbiome because these things are absolutely not independent of each other.
2. Gali prioritizes diversity in socio-demographics and disease journey
IBD Footprints is also different than other IBD studies because there are no socio-demographic or disease-based restrictions.
Gali Health realizes the importance of diversity in research. We want literally everyone with IBD to join: all races and ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, sexual orientations, gender identities, and other socio-demographics.
You can hear Gali Health’s Director of Clinical Research, Arielle, talk more about this on Natalie Kelley’s “Thrive with IBD” podcast episode #19.
We also welcome any IBD patient regardless of where you are in your disease journey: flaring, in remission, j-pouchers, ostomates, never had surgery, on medications, on zero medications, etc.
If the data collected in research isn’t diverse, the precision medicine solutions that result from the study would only be helpful for a subset of IBD patients. And that kinda defeats the purpose.
It’s imperative that the data Gali Health collects are broad and diverse so it represents the entire patient experience. So BE SURE to sign up to make sure your experience is accounted for.
How to get involved
In order to participate, you must:
- Have IBD,
- Live in the US,
- Be 18 or older, and
- Have access to an iPhone (the Gali app is currently only available on iOS. If you have an Android, get on the waitlist here.)
If you meet these criteria and want to join the Footprints Program, all you have to do is enter your email address on Gali’s sign up page.
OR, if you already have the Gali app, simply send Gali a chat letting her know you’d like to join the study!
Someone on the clinical team will contact you with the next steps, including sending you the consent form and collecting your mailing address.
If you live outside the US, get on the waitlist here to be notified when IBD Footprints is available in your country!
What do you learn from your gut microbiome report?
You’ll find out how your microbiome changes over time and how those changes correlate with your IBD symptoms and experience.
You’ll also learn how your microbiome is different from or similar to others’ in the study.
Is this research study available for IBD patients outside the US?
Gali’s Clinical Research Team is working around the clock to bring this IBD Footprints Research Program to people with IBD all over the world.
If you live outside the US and would like to join, sign up on the waitlist so Gali can notify you as soon as this research program is available in your country!
Can people with j-pouches and ostomies join this study?
Heck yes! Gali Health wants everyone with IBD to join. They appreciate all the nuances in everyone’s IBD journey and wants to study these differences rather than exclude people from the study due to these differences.
How does Gali protect your biological and digital data?
Firstly, all of your data is kept in-house because Gali has a designated R&D arm.
Both your digital and biological samples go through an identification stripping process, and your biological samples are stored in the biobank for later sequencing.
Lastly, your dour de-identified data will be stored in a safe and secure location. You will have the option to request for your data to be permanently deleted.
Can you tell me more about the Gali app?
Gali is an AI-powered app that empowers you to proactively manage, track, and learn about your Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis while engaging you in a supportive community. Advanced algorithms allow Gali to send you highly personalized content (articles, videos, and pieces written by Gali community members) straight to your feed to meet you exactly where you are in your unique IBD journey.
- You can track symptoms, lifestyle choices, and medications and receive check-in reports to see how they’re correlated.
- You can chat with Gali herself and ask for information or receive emotional support.
- You can submit content (AKA insights) into the app and be rewarded with Gali points which you can redeem for swag, gift cards, and other fun things of monetary value.
- Much more!
Download the Gali app on iOS here!
When will the Gali app be available on Android?
Gali Health’s development team is working super hard to get the Android version of Gali up and running ASAP. Sign up for the waitlist so Gali can notify you as soon as it’s available for download!
Disclaimer: I will receive in-app Gali points if you download Gali through the links provided. You can also receive referral points once you’ve downloaded the app by sharing your unique download link with others.
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