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April 8, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:30am

How IBM and Pfizer plan to use IoT to fight Parkinson’s disease

News: Research project aims to accelerate digitalisation of medicine industry.

By Joao Lima

Pfizer and IBM have entered into a joint research collaboration which will rely on IoT technology, including a system of sensors, mobile devices, and machine learning to help improve Parkinson’s Disease care

The companies said the goal of the research is to obtain a better understanding of a patient’s disease progression and medication response to help inform treatment decisions and clinical trial design, while also speeding the development of new therapeutic options.

This will be possible as the applied technology is expected to provide real-time disease symptom information to clinicians and researchers.

Pfizer and IBM said they will put in place an external advisory board of patient groups, advocacy organisations, clinicians, and neuroscientists for guidance on the use of technology, medical devices, data management, and research protocols, and to ensure the needs of patients guide the program.

The collaboration seeks to create a holistic view of a patient’s well-being by seeking to measure a variety of health indicators, including motor function, dyskinesia, cognition, sleep and daily activities such as grooming, dressing and eating.

According to the Pfizer, insights from data could help clinicians understand the effect of a patient’s medication as the disease progresses, enabling them to help optimize the patient’s treatment regimen as needed.

Peter Bergethon, MD, VP of Quantitative Medicine, Neuroscience and Pain Research Unit, Pfizer, said the research will help change the way neurological diseases are treated with connected health technology, real-time data capture and advanced data analysis.

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He said: "The potential for technology and connectivity to redefine medicine has never been greater, and I believe the sky is the limit on what could come of our collaboration."

The key to the project’s 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, according to Mikael Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D., President of Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development.

He said: "[This can] potentially accelerate drug development and regulatory approval processes and helping us to get better therapies to patients, faster."

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