Pfizer and IBM join forces to develop remote monitoring solutions

By Melissa Fassbender contact

- Last updated on GMT

IBM Research Data Scientist Eric Clark explores wearable technologies that could help monitor and analyze biological data from study subjects on Thursday, April 7, 2016 at IBM's T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, NY. (Image: IBM)
IBM Research Data Scientist Eric Clark explores wearable technologies that could help monitor and analyze biological data from study subjects on Thursday, April 7, 2016 at IBM's T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, NY. (Image: IBM)

Related tags: Data management, Clinical trial, Patient, Pfizer

Using an experimental Internet of Things system that enables remote monitoring, the companies believe the multi-year project has the potential to change the way clinical trials are conducted.

The project will initially focus on improving patient care for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a disease which requires medication adjustments and treatment alterations as the disease progressively worsens.

Today, those changes in treatment are typically based on symptoms and tests during doctors’ visits and information captured in a patient diary​,” Dean Mastrojohn, a Pfizer spokesperson told us. “This system provides an inconsistent and limited view (both in data and time) of what the patient is actually experiencing and how the disease is progressing​.”

The project is also a significant milestone for IBM and its work to advance Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in healthcare. While the company has already implemented various technologies in hospitals, the partnership with Pfizer is the first of its kind.

The collaboration will span multiple years and will involve several phases, during which the two companies will work together to build the system, determining what kind of information must be gathered, and which mobile devices and sensors will be used to produce the data.

In year-one we will to test the technology in both healthy volunteers and Parkinson’s patients to determine the devices, algorithms and data management necessary to create useful information streams from data​,” said Mastrojohn.

In Phase II, Pfizer and IBM plan to validate the measurement system in Parkinson’s patients. The system will be scaled during Phase III, so that it can be industrialized and progressed into clinical testing.

According to Mastrojohn, the project could greatly improve the ability to capture accurate, objective data​ that informs clinical trials.

Part of what we hope to achieve is to have more precise and real-time data to define trial endpoints and create a more efficient system of analyzing that data​,” he added. “If we can capture better, more precise data, faster, and with the perspective of dynamic change (time dependent analysis) our expectation is that this will ultimately help us develop therapies more quickly and more efficiently​.’

The companies expect that the system will move into initial clinical testing quickly. An external advisory board, including patient groups, advocacy organizations, clinicians, and neuroscientists, will provide guidance on the use of technology, medical devices, data management, and research protocols, in order to ensure patient needs are being met.

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