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NCI turns to Leap of Faith Technologies to develop drug telemonitoring technology

Leap Of Faith Technologies : 06 February, 2008  (New Product)
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the USA has awarded Leap of Faith Technologies an $883,593 contract to further develop its drug telemonitoring technology, called eMedonline for use in oncology and clinical trials.
eMedonline integrates cellphones, radio frequency identification (RFID), and health and behavioural informatics to optimise compliance, track medication use, and extend patient care to the ambulatory setting.

'eMedonline is designed to facilitate compliance data collection and help manage adverse events,' explained Barbara Rapchak, CEO of Leap of Faith. 'The system goes beyond reminding patients to take their medications. It also helps them monitor their symptoms, side effects, and overall well-being using an off-the-shelf cellphone that integrates seamlessly into their lifestyle.'

eMedonline is a ‘smart service’ that uses the inherent abilities of wireless technologies like cellphones and RFID. Medication data read from an RFID tag on the medication package is collected wirelessly in real time and helps verify that patients are taking the right drug at the right time, while tracking adverse events. A web service makes the data readily available to clinicians. Alerts can be triggered, enabling intervention in the case of missed medications or adverse events before they become a significant health risk.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, clinical trials report average adherence rates of only 43 to 78 percent. It costs an average of $6533 to recruit a patient for a trial, and three times that amount to recruit a new patient if one is lost due to non-compliance.

eMedonline cost-effectively and accurately tracks drug distribution, dosing times, and missed doses, eliminating costly uncertainty about efficacy and the need for manual data entry. This can reduce the cost and time to bring a drug to market.

With increased FDA scrutiny of new drugs, the technology is especially relevant to Phase IV studies where it can automate data collection across large, widely distributed populations for extended periods of time.

Increased use of oral cancer drugs has raised concerns about patient compliance. A review in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that up to 80 percent of cancer patients failed to follow their prescriptions. The risk to patients is substantial. Patients who take too much chemotherapy risk a toxic reaction or long-term damage. Patients who take too little lose the drug's therapeutic benefits.
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