What You Should Know:
– Rocket VR Health, a digital therapeutics company developing immersive therapy programs launches a new study in partnership with Dr. Linda Carlson, Enbridge Research Chair in Psychosocial Oncology at the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine.
– The first-of-its-kind study will assess the feasibility of a virtual reality guided mindfulness (VRGM) intervention program in adult cancer patients with chronic cancer-related pain (CRP).
CRP Impact on Quality of Life
CRP has a significant negative impact on quality of life. The prevalence of CRP has been estimated at 30–50% in patients undergoing cancer treatment and more than 70% in patients with advanced disease. Mindfulness is hypothesized to mitigate chronic CRP by regulating both physical and emotional resistance to pain. Virtual reality provides an immersive and engaging environment that may enhance one’s focused attention to present moment experiences, potentially making mindfulness easier and more effective for individuals with chronic pain.
Study Background & Protocols
Fifteen cancer survivors will be enrolled in a six-week, home-based intervention that consists of approximately 15 minutes of daily VRGM practice. Participants will be assessed on psychosocial outcome measures before and after the study, including pain, sleep, depressive and anxiety symptoms, fatigue, quality of life, and mindfulness.
“Even in the face of something as difficult and life-threatening as cancer, mindfulness can be a tool for personal and collective growth and transformation,” said Dr. Linda Carlson, Enbridge Research Chair in Psychosocial Oncology at the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine. “Through the ‘Virtual Mind’ study, Rocket VR Health is helping us gauge the potential of virtual reality technologies to achieve meaningful clinical improvements for cancer patients.”
This study has been approved by the Health Research Ethics Board of Alberta-Cancer Committee and is currently underway. This study will provide the foundation needed to design and conduct larger studies to examine the efficacy of VRGM in improving chronic CRP and treating other symptoms related to the quality of life and morbidity. Despite the potential benefits of VRGM for cancer patients with chronic CRP, there has been little research in this area.