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UCB trials wearable sensor for Parkinson's

Its medical device combines with a mobile app to measure motor symptom patterns

Parkinson's disease 

UCB has begun trials of a wearable sensor that it is combining with a custom-made patient diary app to monitor the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

The prototype MC10 wearable sensor patch is being developed to measure and detect patterns in patients' motor symptoms and will monitor physiological parameters, such as limb movement.

Dolors Terricabras, global project leader at UCB, wrote: "When a new medicine or medical device is being tested in people with long-term illnesses, such as Parkinson's disease, it is essential that patients' symptoms are recorded so that doctors can study how patients are doing.

"Patient diaries are an established way to record symptoms of long-term illnesses and usually come in paper form. However, paper-based patient diaries are imperfect."

The company hopes that its application of mobile health technology will increase the accuracy and regularity of data collection in clinical trials.

"Experience shows that patients often do not stick with their diaries," Terricabras noted. "They may begin a trial with great enthusiasm for recording their symptoms but, with the best will in the world, their commitment to diary-keeping tends to fade over time. Patients can lose interest and diaries can get lost, meaning data is not collected."

The company's combination of a medical device and, what it says is, a very simple custom app is a first for UCB. 

In addition to overcoming many of the limitations of paper diaries, the app can offer users tools such as reminders and video instructions on how to complete the diary.

UCB also has high hopes for the data captured by the patient diary app, which it wants to combine with more traditional physician-scored measures of symptoms in order to develop 'intelligent algorithms' to extract clinical symptoms from the data generated by the wearable sensor patch.

The biopharma company is in good company, with a number of technology companies and patient groups eyeing up the potential of wearable sensors in Parkinson's disease.

Earlier this year the Michael J Fox Foundation, which funded the first web-based system to remotely access data from 'miniature sensors attached to the body' in 2008, tied up with Intel and Apple on a ResearchKit-powered study.

The Michael J Fox Foundation also collaborated with biotech Sage Bionetworks on the development of a new Parkinson's mobile app called Parkinson mPower that captures data on Parkinson's symptoms and progression as part of a clinical study. 

Meanwhile, Cleveland-based company Great Lakes Neurotechnologies launched its Kinesia 360 product around the same time. It uses wireless, patient-worn sensors and a smart phone mobile app to monitor severity of Parkinson's symptoms throughout the day.

11th December 2015

From: Healthcare

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