Video games, pioneering gene therapies and new medical devices are set to transform treatments on the NHS, with support from the Department of Health and the Wellcome Trust.
The experimental technologies are being developed through the Health Innovation Challenge Fund, which was set up in 2009 to stimulate the delivery of products and interventions with potential clinical application in the NHS within a five-year time frame.
Professor Janet Eyre at Newcastle University has been supported by the Fund to develop a system for therapists to monitor patients' arm rehabilitation and recovery after stroke using video games that can be played at home. The patient's movements are measured as part of the game and information on how well they are performing can be relayed to a therapist in the clinic via the internet. The aim is to enable therapists to continually track their patients' recovery and adjust therapy programmes accordingly.
Professor Eyre explains: "We hope that enabling therapists to monitor their patients' progress remotely will improve compliance with home based therapy programmes, speed up recoveries and free up valuable clinic time. Ultimately, therapists will be able to supervise more patients and patients should regain greater independence."
Following collection and validation of the required data from patients playing the games, the team anticipate that the full package will be available to therapists within two years.
The Fund has also supported the world's first clinical trial for a hereditary type of blindness called choroideraemia, using a gene therapy approach. Researchers are still analysing the data but early results are very promising, with no reported adverse effects.
Professor Robert MacLaren from the University of Oxford is leading the clinical trial at the Oxford Eye Hospital together with Professor Miguel Seabra from Imperial College London. Professor MacLaren, who is also consultant
|Contact: Jen Middleton|