gaitQ and machineMD secure million dollar research grant to monitor Parkinson’s development in UK and Switzerland

Oxford-based medical technology start-up gaitQ and Swiss medical device company machineMD have announced the joint award of a million dollar research grant from Innovate UK and Innosuisse to enable the collection and analysis of critical movement data from people with Parkinson’s (PwP).

The grant will fund an 18-month research project that will record movement data from 100 UK and Swiss PwP as they go about their daily lives, to help more effectively monitor the development of the disease.

The data will be used to establish patterns of behaviour and provide clinicians with insight to deliver more effective treatment plans, ultimately helping earlier detection and treatment of the condition. The data will be collected and analysed at University of Exeter (UoE) and University Hospital Zurich (USZ).

The grant, announced on World Parkinson’s Day (11th April) marks a significant moment for the 10 million people worldwide living with the disease according to the company, a number that it says is expected to double by 2030.

Parkinson’s is a movement condition with significant variation in disease progression across individuals. By mapping these biomarkers in movement, gaitQ and machineMD hope to identify critical moments in the development of Parkinson’s and unlock insight into better treatment.

“Typically, Parkinson’s can develop at a different pace in different individuals and therefore the impact varies hugely. This research identifies key moments when the condition progresses and aims to understand more about what causes this and why. This can help clinicians and specialist physiotherapists create more relevant and personalized treatment plans, ultimately helping PwP manage their condition more independently and effectively,” said Dr Tristan Collins, CEO at gaitQ.

Dr Ana Coito, Neuroscientist at machineMD said: “People with Parkinson’s may remain asymptomatic from motor symptoms until 50-60% of the dopaminergic neurons have been lost and treatment is only initiated in the late disease phase. Early and accurate diagnosis as well as accurate disease progression monitoring, are still important challenges.

“Abnormal oculo-motor function has been reported in 75-87.5% of Parkinson’s patients.  Through this research grant, we aim to identify valuable digital biomarkers, which may aid more accurate disease monitoring – opening new possibilities for timely treatment and personalized therapeutic strategies.”

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