Coming Soon: Personalized Medicine

From Wired.

Very interesting opportunities when you think about the need to proactively work to be healthy versus the old model of becoming unhealthy as time goes on.

A biomedical company has created a system to embed tiny computers and sensors into drugs and link them to a cellphone or the Internet in a bid to make the monitoring of drug efficacy foolproof.

The technology allows for automatic collection of vital patient data that can be used to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. It can be particularly useful to closely track a patient's response to a particular dosage of medicine. The idea garnered the company on Thursday one of the 34 prestigious "technology pioneer" awards from the World Economic Forum.

“We are enabling intelligent medicine by adding sensors to existing therapies so it can be personalized to every individual on a cost-effective basis,” says George Savage, co-founder and chief medical officer of Proteus Biomedical.

3_pharmaceutical20systemThe networked pill product, branded Raisin, is still in clinical trials, but it shows how technology and medicine are being melded in ways that are likely to change how we take drugs. More broadly, they could be part of a suite of technologies that enable personalized medicine, the long-promoted ideal of tailoring drug treatments to an individual's physiological and genetic profile. Proteus executives have compared their system to the electronics that help mechanics diagnose problems in cars.

Proteus' product consists of two parts: an ingestible sensor chip and an external band-aid-like patch. The chips are just 1mm square and 200 microns thick and are attached to pills with a bio-compatible glue. When swallowed the chips send a signal to the patch. The patch has accelerometers and amplifiers to track heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature and body angle to determine if the patient is lying down or standing up.

That information is transmitted via Bluetooth to an online repository and can show how the body is responding to the drug, says Savage.

This would be a boon to chronic disease management and may very well become a requirement for those with a chronic disease such as diabetes or heart issues.

It would also be a component of proactive health management that I believe will begin to take a very strong hold in the coming years.

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