A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Georgetown University (Washington), Gentag (also Washington) and Science Applications International (SAIC; San Diego), have combined forces to develop a non-invasive method for glucose measurement. The three agreed to combine their respective intellectual property (IP) and expertise to create a new method to monitor glucose, using disposable skin patches with wireless sensors and cell phones.

The resulting products could eliminate the need for finger pricking with lancets to draw blood for people of all ages with diabetes.

"This alliance provides an excellent example of cooperation between academia and industry to bring creative healthcare solutions to the marketplace," said Claudia Stewart, VP of technology commercialization at Georgetown.

The combined technology will enable the development of a unique new platform and approach for glucose monitoring and insulin delivery using cell phones. One potential market application could be a disposable, wireless skin patch that measures glucose levels and reports those levels to a cell phone that could also wirelessly control an insulin pump.

By using soft, flexible skin patches, combined with new sensor-chip technology, the traditional pain and discomfort of the current "finger-prick" technology could be dramatically reduced or eliminated. The patches would be designed to provide readings once every hour for a 24-hour period. Using cell phones as readers would allow for convenience of a device many already use and are familiar with, as well as many other benefits, including emergency relocation of patients.

"We expect that this new, painless, disposable, wireless, glucose sensor technology will significantly improve diabetes monitoring worldwide," said John Peeters, founder and president of Gentag.

With funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at the Department of Defense, John Currie, a professor of physics and director of Georgetown Advanced Electronics Laboratory (GAEL); Mak Paranjape, an associate professor of physics and researcher at GAEL Health Microsystems at Georgetown, and SAIC researchers Thomas Schneider and Robert White, who worked in the area of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), initially developed the skin patch technology to monitor the status of soldiers in a battlefield.

In other agreement news, Phase Forward (Boston), a provider of data management solutions for clinical trials and drug safety, reported it has formed an alliance with AG Mednet (also Boston), a clinical trials imaging network, to integrate Phase Forward's InForm integrated trial management (ITM) system and AG Mednet's imaging transport network.

The integrated offering will enable clinical trial patient images to be tracked and managed from within the InForm ITM system. The joint solution will help streamline the process of transporting images between clinical sites and central reviewers, and will enable trial sponsors to access the status of patient images in real-time.

Clinical trial images including radiographs, MRI, computed tomography scans and ultrasounds frequently are burned onto a compact disc after patient visits, and physically mailed to a central reviewer typically a core laboratory for analysis. This often-costly, time-consuming and inefficient process burdens clinical trial productivity.

The reported alliance is intended to provide an integrated offering for sponsors that will enable clinical trial investigators to send images electronically in a more expeditious and secure manner to core laboratories. The joint offering will also give core laboratories the ability to enter patient imaging data directly into the InForm system, eliminating a costly and time-consuming reconciliation step.

In addition to reducing the high costs associated with physically shipping CDs, with the joint Phase Forward-AG Mednet offering the imaging review process will benefit from more efficient, less manual image management workflows. The goal is to provide earlier insights into patient imaging data as well as enhanced tracking and audit capabilities. Furthermore, this integrated electronic image transport solution presents a comprehensive, detailed method for ensuring compliance with regulatory and security requirements, reducing the many iterative and manual steps required today.

AG Mednet is a diagnostic imaging network.

Phase Forward is a provider of integrated data management solutions for clinical trials and drug safety.