EIT Health Calls on Digital Solutions to Treat Alzheimer’s
EIT Health is worried that the impact from the Covid-19 pandemic will have adversely affected current resources and services across the entire patient pathway for those living and yet to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting up to 75% of those diagnosed. In the UK, Alzheimer’s Disease is thought to affect up to 850,000, a figure which will rise to 1.6 million by 2040.
Whilst there are a number of approved drugs targeting Alzheimer’s disease, the majority of these aim to control symptoms of the disease rather than treating its progression. The latest drug to be approved for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease was developed by Biogen, but it was also a source of controversy for its limited data.
Earlier this year, the EIT Health Think Tank released a report concluding that AI and digital solutions are urgently needed to help healthcare practitioners navigate the fallout from the pandemic – such as staff capacity, missed appointments and longer waiting lists for the provision of care.
Jan-Philipp Beck, CEO at EIT Health said: “Alzheimer’s is one of the most difficult diseases to manage and support; it is highly complex and therefore we must use all of the tools at our disposal to tackle the existing and growing impact of this devastating condition. We can use technology to help us get smarter in our approach – big data and big data mining, AI, and other technologies can strengthen traditional approaches, and give us the best chances for success in areas such as risk and prediction of disease, clinical trials and drug discovery.
“The challenge of the pandemic has undoubtedly helped accelerate growth, adoption and scaling of technology such as AI, as healthcare providers and systems have both adapted to deliver care both rapidly and remotely. However, this momentum needs to be maintained to ensure that benefits are felt across all diseases, not just Covid-19.”
EIT Health is currently supporting a number of companies that are challenging traditional approaches to Alzheimer’s Disease with the aim of fast-tracking diagnosis and the drug discovery process.
EIT Health-backed Altoida has developed a non-invasive software device utilising AI, to measure and monitor cognitive function to predict whether mild cognitive impairment will escalate to Alzheimer’s Disease. Diagnosing the condition early, before symptoms even begin to appear, allows clinicians to treat patients with the aim of delaying or lessening the impact of neurodegeneration. The device collects personalised brain data by asking users to complete a 10-minute set of augmented reality and motor activities on their smartphone or tablet. With this data, the device will use AI to predict if an individual aged 55+ with mild cognitive impairment will or will not convert to Alzheimer’s Disease within 12 months
In August, Altoida was awarded US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) Breakthrough Designation for the development of the world’s first precision neurology device for the prediction of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Also focused on Alzheimer’s is iLoF, winners of the EIT Health Wild Care programme 2019, who aim to revolutionise the complex clinical trial process and accelerate drug discovery.
Current methods of screening patients for clinical trials are lengthy, invasive and expensive, and the rates of patients either dropping out or being deemed ineligible are high. iLoF uses AI algorithms and photonics to non-invasively screen patients for trial eligibility and facilitate personalised and precision medicine in clinical trial design. The use of this intelligent platform will not only accelerate the development of new and personalised Alzheimer’s treatments and make them more economically viable but will also facilitate personalised and precisions medicine applications in other conditions.
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