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AppliedVR and National Cancer Inst. Collaborate on Research Evaluating VR for Reducing Anxiety...

Interim analysis supports feasibility and acceptability of a novel VR intervention to target psychological symptoms for PBT patients.

LOS ANGELES, July 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- AppliedVR, an immersive therapeutics (ITx) pioneer advancing a novel approach to medicine, today announced interim analysis results of a phase 2 clinical trial study performed in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The phase 2 clinical trial explored whether virtual reality (VR) could be an intervention for primary brain tumor (PBT) patients who experience distress and anxiety prior to their clinical evaluations. The study is part of an ongoing collaboration agreement between AppliedVR and the NCI and is led by the Neuro-Oncology Branch (NOB), Center for Cancer Research (CCR), NCI. The patient population of the study is comprised of patients who are actively enrolled in NOB's Natural History Study.

The interim analysis for this study was published in the Journal for Neuro-Oncology1 and noted high feasibility and acceptability for a novel VR therapy as an intervention to target psychological symptoms for PBT patients. Researchers in this study hypothesized that VR intervention would not only be a feasible option, but that patients would report high satisfaction as well. Of the enrolled participants who all completed the VR intervention, questionnaires, weekly check-ins and a qualitative interview, nearly all reported frequent VR use and high satisfaction (N=20).

Researchers provided study participants with VR devices that contained preloaded content from AppliedVR which included 41 scenarios, falling into three main categories: dynamic breathing, guided relaxation and instant escape. Following an initial VR intervention, patients would self-administer VR for the one month they were on study and could choose any scenario.

Overall, 90% of participants reported that the VR intervention was worthwhile, and the same amount (90%) indicated they would use it again in the future – with 95% reporting they'd recommend VR to other patients prior to their clinic appointments. During their time on study, 60% of participants reported an improved quality of life due to the use of VR.

"Virtual reality holds potential to lessen some of the negative aspects that cancer patients endure, helping them escape and experience positive thoughts that assist them with coping," said Amanda King, Ph.D., study lead Associate Investigator of NCI. "However, while much of the previous VR research in oncology has focused on reducing distress symptoms associated with chemotherapy infusions or painful procedures, results from this interim analysis suggest that this novel interventional strategy is feasible in patients with primary brain tumors and has high reported acceptability to date."

"Receiving a brain cancer diagnosis is one of the most difficult and stressful experiences any human can face, which is why we're humbled and encouraged by the study's preliminary analysis. If we can improve just one experience a patient has during their care journey, it makes it all worth it," said Matthew Stoudt, Co-founder and CEO of AppliedVR. "We've always believed in the power that immersive therapeutics hold to transform the lives of patients, and working with an organization as prestigious as the NCI affords us the opportunity to demonstrate that VR can be a highly accessible and scalable solution for cancer patients experiencing anxiety."

Patients with brain tumors have some of the highest prevalence of clinically significant distress among all solid tumor patients because of the disease's challenging clinical course and high symptom burden. Compounding the stressors for PBT patients are the frequent neuroimaging assessments required as their providers continually monitor the disease's progress, which can contribute to what is commonly referred to as "scanxiety." While the common clinical approach is to refer patients in need to mental health professionals or other forms of psychological support, less than half of patients elect to utilize these services when offered. Additionally, the shortage of available mental health professionals has continued to grow, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimating a deficit of 10,000 mental health professionals by 2025.

The NCI research collaboration represents another major milestone for AppliedVR, which is committed to being one of the most evidence-based immersive therapeutics providers on the market. In the future, the two organizations may continue to work together to expand and deepen research that evaluates how immersive therapeutics can help serve cancer patients.

AppliedVR recently became the first VR provider to receive a unique Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code for its FDA-authorized RelieVRx™ program that's indicated for chronic lower back pain, classifying it as durable medical equipment.

About AppliedVR AppliedVR is creating a new reality in healthcare. We are pioneering immersive therapeutics (ITx), a new category of medicine, to treat intractable health conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. Today, AppliedVR's treatments represent a robust approach to chronic lower back pain (CLBP) that empowers patients with an intuitive device they can self-manage at home. AppliedVR's RelieVRx™ program is the first VR-based, prescription therapeutic to receive Breakthrough Device Designation and De Novo authorization by the FDA for CLBP. AppliedVR's wellness programs, which was the type of product used in this research with NCI, have been trusted by more than 200 leading health systems and thousands of healthcare professionals globally, used on more than 60,000 patients. For more information, visit

1 Source: King, A.L., Roche, K.N., Leeper, H.E. et al. Feasibility of a virtual reality intervention targeting distress and anxiety symptoms in patients with primary brain tumors: Interim analysis of a phase 2 clinical trial. J Neurooncol 162, 137–145 (2023).

Press Contact Sam Moore 225-931-4081



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