Pfizer & IBM collaboration to bring new Parkinson’s monitoring system to the clinic

Written by Alice Weatherston

Pfizer and IBM have announced a novel research collaboration, aiming to develop innovative remote monitoring solutions to change the way clinicians deliver care to patients with Parkinson’s disease.
The two companies have joined forces in an experimental approach which will incorporate a system of sensors, mobile devices and machine learning in order to provide real-time, 24 hour, disease symptom information.

Due to the need for regular readjustment of medication during disease progression, it is hoped that the new technology will help to give a holistic view of a patient’s well-being by measuring a wide variety of health indicators e.g. motor function, dyskinesia, cognition, daily activities and sleep.

The ability to collate reliable information on these indicators may help clinicians to further understand the effect of treatment on the patient, enabling optimization of the regimen.

The companies also believe that this extensive data could help to provide researchers with detailed insights and ‘real-world’ evidence to inform development of new and more efficacious therapies.

“We have an opportunity to potentially redefine how we think about patient outcomes and 24/7 monitoring, by combining Pfizer’s scientific, medical and regulatory expertise with IBM’s ability to integrate and interpret complex data in innovative ways,” commented Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development. “The key to our success will be to deliver a reliable, scalable system of measurement and analysis that would help inform our clinical programs across important areas of unmet medical need, potentially accelerating the drug development and regulatory approval processes and helping us to get better therapies to patients, faster.”

Arvind Krishna of IBM Research commented: “With the proliferation of digital health information, one area that remains elusive is the collection of real-time physiological data to support disease management. We are testing ways to create a system that passively collects data with little to no burden on the patient, and to provide doctors and researchers with objective, real-time insights that we believe could fundamentally change the way patients are monitored and treated.”

It is hoped that, despite being a multi-year project, the system will move into clinical testing soon.

Source: IBM press release