The Imperial College of London recently began development of a body suit to improve treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The suit uses a unique artificial intelligence interface to collect and analyze data. Duchenne Research Fund of the U.K. awarded nearly $450,000 dollars to the project already. Keep reading to learn more about this revolutionary concept, or follow the original story here.
The Duchene Research Fund assists in the development process for new Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatments. The fund specializes in creating connections between scientists, charitable organizations, and biotech companies. As such, the scientists at Imperial College of London will use their new funding to build and evaluate a type of bodysuit. While worn, the suit monitors a patient’s movements. It provides metrics on their motor functions and capacity.
To this end, the research team proposes a year-long clinical study.
The study focuses on boys, since most DMD patients are male, and differentiates them into groups with or without Duchenne muscular dystrophy. On specific days, participants will wear the suit for a determined length of time. During this time, the device delivers data in real-time to scientists. Combined with artificial intelligence, this data will allow scientific teams to discern which new treatments may be effective.
Another benefit of the project is that by functioning in real-time it accelerates the testing process. This reduces the cost of clinical studies, and enables new treatments to be developed more quickly.
“Wearing the suit will be like having your own personal neurologist studying you day and night,” says A. Aldo Faisal, PhD of the Departments of Bioengineering and Computing at Imperial College London. “We hope it will lessen the time it takes to figure out if a new treatment is working so that new treatment options are more quickly available.”
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a disease with an incredible number of variables. Currently, physicians and specialist monitor a patient’s condition “by eye.” The bodysuit on the other hand allows for objective measurements. Furthermore, the suit allows for these measurements to be taken in real world settings. This creates a highly patient-specific set of data points.
This information may complement or entirely replace current assessment standards and allow for a future with better treatment and quality of life for Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients.