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Pfizer taps mobile app for patient recruitment

Looks to use smartphone technology to identify rare disease patients

Pfizer is set to harness smartphone technology in a bid to identify patients with a very rare genetic condition that cause them not to feel physical pain.

It is estimated there are just 40 diagnosed cases of congenital analgesia worldwide and Pfizer hopes that technology could help it engage with sufferers and their families and ultimately assist with the development of new chronic pain treatments.

To do this the pharma company is using Sangre, a mobile application and online platform from Sanguine Biosciences, to find and recruit people diagnosed with congenital analgesia, or congenital insensitivity to pain.

The research project will see the DNA of congenital analgesia patients compared with that of their unaffected family members to try to identify DNA mutations that could be attributable to the condition.

Ruth McKernan, head of Pfizer's pain and sensory disorder research unit Neusentis, said: “Our aim is to use this information to aid in potentially identifying new drug targets and developing potential therapies for chronic pain.”

The company has used technology to boost its research before, notably with the first randomised clinical trial that patients could participate in entirely from home. That trial, in overactive bladeder, used mobile phone and web-based technology, but ultimately failed to meet its patient recruitment targets.

For its latest project Pfizer will use the Sangre mobile application to allow medical technicians to collect medical data directly from individuals at any location, rather than making them travel to a doctor's office or hospital.

It will also let qualified participants in over 25 urban areas around the US to schedule an appointment with a local phlebotomist and make a blood donation to Pfizer's study.

10th December 2014

From: Research

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