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University project aims to improve effectiveness of therapies for patients

Written by News

Newcastle University is to lead a new €42 million digital health project, which will focus on research into neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases.

The Identify Digital Endpoints to Assess FAtigue, Sleep and acTivities of daily living (IDEA-FAST) is a project funded by the European Union and the European pharmaceutical industry. This comes under the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking programme. The project has been established with the goal of researching medical conditions such as ‘Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease’, according to the statement released by the Newcastle University Press Office.

IDEA-FAST has 46 members from 14 different European countries, including academic and non-profit institutions, and pharmaceutical companies. Their specific goal is to ease the care of people suffering with neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases. With fatigue and sleep disturbances seriously impacting their quality of life, the programme is based on  harnessing the advancement of wearable and portable digital technology.

IDEA-FAST is to be led by Fai Ng, Professor of Rheumatology at Newcastle’s Faculty of Medical Sciences. Professor Ng said that “project will transform how we conduct clinical trials and further consolidate our world-leading reputation in translational research in long-term conditions.”

“The final ambitious goal of IDEA-FAST is to provide more objective, sensitive, reliable and ecological measures of the severity and impact of symptoms in real-world settings. Such digital endpoints will eventually improve the efficiency of clinical trials, ultimately reducing the time and cost to bringing new therapies to patients.”

The project will work with, and seek advice from, the European Medicines Agency, to help determine what ‘digital endpoints’ the project will establish. The data privacy of patients taking part in the project have been assured, and will be protected at all stages of the project.

Last modified: 12th March 2020

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