Qualcomm funds study of bloodstream sensors, app-enabled genetic tests

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 4, 2012        

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AirstripRPMThe Qualcomm Foundation announced this week that it had awarded the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) $3.75 million to fund clinical trials focused on wireless biosensor systems, rapid pharmacogenomic diagnostic tests, and apps and embedded sensors for tracking and predicting heart attacks, Type 1 diabetes and some types of cancer. The monies will help fund three years of research focused on wireless health.

According to the companies, one of the first projects that the STSI will take on as a result of the grant will be a research study of AirStrip Technologies’ mobile-enabled remote patient monitoring offering. STSI Director Dr. Eric Topol will lead the study, which aims to determine how mobile monitoring of patients by physicians may improve clinical workflow, patient recovery rates and more.

In addition to the AirStrip study, the grant will enable STSI to focus on three projects:

Clinical trial validation of biosensor systems: Tiny sensors floating in the blood stream can serve as round-the-clock scouts for signs of health problems, such as heart disease, Type 1 diabetes and cancer. Clear evidence of the benefit and value of these technologies is critical for regulatory clearance, reimbursement approval and adoption by healthcare providers.

Development of mobile apps for embedded sensors: These devices look for particular gene expressions, gene mutations, proteins or antibodies that provide the molecular signatures of medical conditions. Once trouble is detected, the sensor can send the data wirelessly to an app on a patient’s smartphone, triggering a message to seek treatment. STSI is collaborating with Dr. Axel Scherer and his team at the California Institute of Technology Nanofabrication Group to build the embedded nanosensors.

Handheld genotyping for precisely prescribing medications: In collaboration with DNA Electronics and Dr. Chris Toumazou at the Imperial College London, STSI is testing a point-of-care chip genotyping platform that can determine within 20 minutes a patient’s DNA compatibility with certain drugs such as Plavix, Metformin and Interferon. The project could help lead to a radical change in the way prescriptions are filled at pharmacies and help to eliminate the costly use of ineffective drugs.

Qualcomm Life’s VP of Global Strategy and Market Development, Don Jones will also join the Scripps Digital Medicine program in an unpaid position as chief digital officer.

More on the grant and the projects it enables here.