National Parkinson's Foundation, Global Kinetics start outcomes trial with continuous movement monitor

PKG Recording System--Courtesy of Global Kinetics

Australia's Global Kinetics is teaming up with the National Parkinson's Foundation to study how its wrist-worn activity monitor can help in improving the treatment of Parkinson's patients.

The company's device, the Personal KinetiGraph Movement Recording System or PKG, provides objective measurement of movement in patients with diseases that affect motor skills. It records motion data automatically over a 6-day period and can also remind patients when it's time to take their medication. A physician can then download a patient's data and base future treatments on trends recorded by the PKG. The FDA cleared it in 2014.

The study will involve more than 400 Parkinson's patients in a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial. The project is part of the NPF's Parkinson's Outcomes Project Registry Study, the largest clinical study of Parkinson's disease. The duo aims to assess how technology, particularly the continuous measurement of mobility, can be leveraged to inform clinical decisions and achieve better patient outcomes.

"Some Parkinson's patients are thriving, while others are not. Our goal is to determine what makes that difference," said Peter Schmidt, the NPF's senior vice president and chief mission officer, in a statement. "This study will enable us to consider the interplay of continuous objective measures of patient mobility among the other factors that ultimately produce different results in different people, and likely paths toward better outcomes."

Currently, the treatment for Parkinson's patients varies broadly, with physicians basing decisions on clinical evaluation, patients' response to medication and their self-reporting of symptoms. As a result, outcomes are inconsistent and diverse, according to data from the Parkinson's Outcomes Project.

A number of other players are working on patient monitoring to improve the understanding and treatment of Parkinson's disease. Earlier this year, IBM ($IBM) and Pfizer ($PFE) joined forces to develop a system that includes sensors, mobile devices and machine learning to provide physicians with real-time data on a patient's condition.

Meanwhile, Sage Bionetworks is conducting a study using its mPower iPhone app, which records patients' daily experiences. In March, it released data on mobility, dexterity, memory and vocal characteristics to researchers in the hopes of improving understanding of the disease. And the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Cynapsus are using a wearable device to measure patient responses to the latter's Parkinson's drug candidate in a clinical trial, an effort to speed up drug development.

- here's the statement