Local startup connects research studies with participants

Brooke Resendes is one of two Queen’s University graduates behind Research Stream, a web platform that connects research studies and participants, which she developed with her partner, Luc Pelletier. Photo by Michelle Allan.

Meet two Queen’s grads on a mission to shake up the medical industry and grow Kingston’s reputation as a medical research powerhouse: Brooke Resendes and Luc Pelletier’s startup Research Stream helps hospitals and research institutions find people for research studies.

Research Stream is a web platform that makes signing up for clinical studies more easy, cost-effective, accessible, and private than traditional methods such as flyers and public advertisements.

During her time as a computer science student, Resendes had previously worked on another healthcare digitization startup. The experience creating an app that connects clinical psychologists with their patients gave her an introduction to the healthcare industry, and she said that meeting Pelletier at the 2018 Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) “introduced me to this whole other slew of healthcare problems that can be solved with technology.”

As a recent Kinesiology grad who spent his summers working at the Ottawa Heart Institute, Pelletier noticed that the organization was constantly seeking people to participate in studies, and later realized the problem was widespread — not only throughout that hospital, but across many hospitals and research institutions throughout Canada.

Resendes and Pelletier spoke with over 75 Ontario researchers and discovered that up to 80 per cent of clinical trials were cancelled or prolonged for years due to lack of participants. They found that researchers are currently spending thousands of dollars on bulletin board flyers, bus advertisements, TV commercials, and similar analogue  methods with little success.

“In such a connected world where everything’s on the internet. people are out there looking for studies, but the studies just aren’t in an accessible place for them to find,” Resendes explained.

Researchers post their study information on Research Stream where participants can log on, see all the available studies, and choose which ones they would like to participate in.

“This makes research studies more accessible, but also allows people more privacy,” said Resendes.

According to Resendes, many people they spoke to who are looking to get involved in research studies are part of a specific disease population.

“The worst thing about flyers on bulletin boards is having to go up to a board in a crowded space. Research Stream is a more discreet and private way of getting involved in research studies than ripping off a tag on a flyer in a public space,” Resendes explained.

The Queen’s Innovation Centre provided Research Stream with $4,000 in start up money, and the duo has raised an additional $7,000 from pitch competitions. Resendes attended the Thursday, Jun. 20, 2019 Awesome Kingston pitch party with hopes of receiving the $1,000 no-strings-attached microgrant that the Awesome Foundation gives away each month to help “get local ideas off the ground to keep Kingston awesome.” While Research Stream didn’t win, Resendes said “the positive feedback from everyone in the audience and people coming up to me in total support of this platform was even more important.”

Resendes expressed gratitude for the Kingston community’s support and ability to “attract some of the brightest researchers in Canada.” She said that Research Stream’s immediate goals were focused on “really honing in on the City of Kingston and making sure that we’re putting Kingston on the map in terms of research.”

“Kingston is such a great place to come up with innovative ideas because the community here is so in favor of that. They want to see Kingston succeed and excel,” Resendes said.

According to Resendes, Kingston was well on its way to becoming the epicenter of medical research in Ontario.

“Kingston is a place where amazing research is happening,” Resendes said, “and we have 177,000 people here who can volunteer their time to science.”

“Every drug, every medicine, your glasses prescription: they came to market because people participated in studies,” she continued. “You know all these things that today we couldn’t live without? Well, there are those things coming in the future. We just need to participate in studies.”

To learn more about Research Stream and their mission to get the community actively involved in creating positive change in the medical community, visit their website at https://researchstream.ca.

One thought on “Local startup connects research studies with participants

  • melonoma stage 3c! after surgeries, entered the clinical trial at the ottawa general for a proposed time of one year. hospitalized twice, then removed from trial due to horrific side effects after only 6 months! during those 6 months of treatment, my by monthly appt. with dr. zinnia song were nothing more than the co-ordinater of the program having me fill out the same question sheets and then a quick 5 min. meeting with dr. song, who never had the lab results, etc. from last visit as the filling she said takes up to 2 was. or longer. never had my file with her nor computer screen to check anything. and the list goes on!!!!? I am just a number now that i am no longer in trial. the final straw was my second last meeting with dr. song, before i changed oncologists…that she informed me that yes, i had signed consent form listing side effects, but in truth this was a revised consent form!!! the first one put out by big pharm, listed so many others but it was whittled down as they were not getting enough patients signing up for trial!!!!!!???? i was deceived, they withheld vital information from me and countless others!!
    i am now left with some many life term side effects and my quality of life has gone down the drain. i will never, never recommend a clinical trial to anyone!!!! when you can’t trust your oncologist and certainly not big pharm….???????? i’m in the process of bringing this to light for all patients and to expose the wrong doings!!!!!

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