For a long time, Huntington’s Disease has been monitored and studied through the examination of subjective measures, such as Unified Huntington Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS), and survey-based questions. MC10 is a private company that works on “improving human health through digital solutions,” and they have created a device that shifts research towards objective measures that can be used to study Huntington’s Disease. The BioStamp nPoint is the device that monitor this movement activity data.
About Huntington’s Disease
Huntington’s Disease is a progressive neurological condition in which the brain is attacked. As the disease progresses, people lose their mental and physical functions. It is caused by the HHT gene, which is responsible for the instructions to produce the protein huntingtin. While the exact purpose of this protein is unknown, it is believed to be associated with the health and function of neurons, which are nerve cells, in the brain. People who have the mutated version of the HHT gene have a buildup of a long and toxic chain of the huntingtin protein, which then breaks up and attaches to the neurons, which then lose function and die. This gene is dominant, meaning only one parent has to pass it down to a child in order for the child to have the disease. While it is a dominant disease, it is extremely rare. It affects three to seven of every 100,000 people, and it also mainly affects people of European descent. Diagnosis usually comes later in life, as it is an adult-onset disease. Symptoms tend to begin to appear in people’s 30’s and 40’s, and the lifespan ranges from 15 to 20 years after diagnosis. The symptoms that appear that tend to lead to a diagnosis come in three categories. There are emotional problems, which include personality changes, depression, anxiety, and impulsive behavior. There is also cognitive decline, which could appear as poor decision making, forgetfulness, and problems with learning and remembering new information. Lastly there are uncontrolled motor symptoms, which can include twitching, shrugging, and issues with walking, coordination, and swallowing. One of the most common symptoms of Huntington’s Disease is chorea, which is an uncontrolled jerking or twitching motion. This symptom worsens as the disease progresses. As of now, there is no way to cure or reverse the damage caused by this disease. Symptom management is the goal, as drugs can be prescribed to suppress chorea, to help with depression or anxiety, or other symptoms depending on the patient’s situation.
About BioStamp nPoint
BioStamp nPoint is an “end-to-end system for physiological data collection and analytics.” Essentially, it is a wearable health system that constantly collects data from whoever is wearing it. This new technology will be used in a Phase III study which aims to find a treatment for the chorea symptoms of Huntington’s Disease. In this study, the device will track participant’s activity, sleep, and posture while also looking at gait disturbances and truncal chorea. This data collected by the BioStamp nPoint is a shift from the subjective measures that have been collected in the past. This advance in technology comes after years of analyzing and interpreting data on neurological diseases by the company that created the BioStamp nPoint, MC10 Inc.
Advances Brought by MC10
MC10 has been working with neurological diseases for years, but now it is working with the Huntington Study Group and is sponsored by Neurocrine Biosciences. The work done by MC10 allows for data to be collected in both clinical and home settings, which allows for 24-7 collection. These advances have helped collect new types of data which will hopefully lead to new breakthroughs in treatment for neurological diseases.
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