Clinical OMICS

SEP-OCT 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 25 of 51

24 Clinical OMICs September/October 2018 chemotherapy despite their PS may report feeling fine, while those who want less may report feeling worse than they do. Gupta said PAMs have the potential to give oncol- ogists a more realistic clinical picture of their patient's PS. Team Approach to Innovation Harnessing the power of wearables to improve health out- comes for chronic diseases—particularly in underserved communities—is a complex problem that is most likely to be solved by large, multi-disciplinary teams of experts. At least that's the idea behind the National Science Founda- tion–funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) on Precise Advanced Technologies and Health Systems for Under- served Populations (PATHS-UP) led by researchers at Texas A&M University (TAMU). The PATHS-UP team, which includes everything from engineers and medical research- ers to behavioral psychologists and fashion designers, also includes investigators from UCLA, Rice, Florida Inter- national University, and an evaluation team from Illinois University. The team's research spans device development, deployment, and patient acceptance. Gerard Coté, Ph.D., is a TAMU professor of biomedical engineering and director of PATHS-UP. Coté's own work focuses on developing hand-held and wearable point-of- care technologies and systems using optics, electronics, microfluidics, paper fluidics, nanoparticles, and assays. These technologies are used to detect and diagnose chronic diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular, cancer), blood toxi- cants (BPA, PCBs), and infectious disease (malaria). The PATHS-UP research is focused on developing technol- ogy—lab-in-a-palm and lab-on-a-wrist—that will be used in underserved communities to monitor diabetes and car- diovascular disease. "The research also focuses on partici- patory design and stakeholder engagement in which we get the communities and stakeholders involved so that we are not just throwing technologies at them," Coté said. The PATHS-UP researchers have two main goals. First, they want to engineer new technologies that can overcome the barriers usually faced by point-of-care devices, which can be unreliable, difficult to deploy, and expensive. The second goal is to recruit and educate a diverse group of sci- entists and engineers who focus on four areas of research: • Implantable devices for continuous monitoring of biomarkers, and microfluidic cartridges and assays for finger prick monitoring to determine biomarkers that do not have to be monitored continuously; • Development of affordable hand-held imaging and sensing devices for use with the cartridges and assays; • Wearable devices for monitoring the biochemical markers with the implant and physical parameters noninvasively; and • Development of the models and algorithms for smart data analysis, sending the right information to the right person, and for modifying behavior. Coté said it is still very early in the process of turning wearables, hand-helds, and implantables into useful, medi- cally relevant devices. "Like many emerging technologies, the early units are market–driven and hence focused on fitness rather than health. I believe this will change as we get more devices out there that are true medical devices that have the required sensitivity, specificity, and robustness to pass regulatory (continued from page 22) Emmanuel Agu (right), a professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and team work to improve their remote monitoring tool that tracks the progress of wound healing. Texas A&M researchers assemble a wearable remote monitoring device.

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