gaitQ and machineMD secure million-dollar research grant to monitor Parkinson’s development

The Oxford-based medical technology startup, gaitQ, and the Swiss medical device company, machineMD, recently announced the joint award of a research grant from InnovateUK and Innosuisse. This grant, valued at one million dollars, aims to facilitate the collection and analysis of critical movement data from people with Parkinson's (PwP).

The funding will support an 18-month research project during which movement data from 100 UK and Swiss PwP will be recorded as they go about their daily lives. This initiative is designed to enhance the monitoring of the disease's progression more effectively.

Clinicians will use the data to establish behavioural patterns and gain insights that will enable them to devise more effective treatment plans. This could lead to earlier detection and treatment of the condition. The data collection and analysis will occur at the University of Exeter (UoE) and University Hospital Zurich (USZ).

This grant represents a significant development for the ten million people worldwide living with Parkinson’s, a number that is expected to double by 2030. Parkinson’s is a complex movement condition that exhibits significant variation in disease progression among individuals. By mapping these biomarkers in movement, gaitQ and machineMD aim to identify critical moments in the development of Parkinson’s and unlock insights into more effective treatments.

Dr Tristan Collins, CEO at gaitQ, comments: “Typically, Parkinson’s can develop at a different pace in different individuals and therefore the impact varies hugely. This research identifies key moments when the condition progresses and aims to understand more about what causes this and why. This can help clinicians and specialist physiotherapists create more relevant and personalized treatment plans, ultimately helping PwP manage their condition more independently and effectively.”

Dr Ana Coito, Neuroscientist at machineMD, explains: “People with Parkinson’s may remain asymptomatic from motor symptoms until 50-60% of the dopaminergic neurons have been lost and treatment is only initiated in the late disease phase. Early and accurate diagnosis as well as accurate disease progression monitoring, are still important challenges. Abnormal oculo-motor function has been reported in 75-87.5% of Parkinson’s patients.  Through this research grant, we aim to identify valuable digital biomarkers, which may aid more accurate disease monitoring – opening new possibilities for timely treatment and personalized therapeutic strategies.”