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Data Partnership Aims for Precise Parkinson’s Care

brain stimulationgraphic

(Media News, Flickr)

2 Nov. 2021. A medical device maker is offering brain stimulation data to a neurological software company to provide more personalized care for people with Parkinson’s disease. The collaboration brings together software developer Rune Labs with global medical device company Medtronic that makes a deep-brain stimulation system for treating Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease occurs when the brain produces less of the amino acid dopamine, a neurotransmitter that sends signals from one neuron or nerve cell to another. As the level of dopamine lowers, people with Parkinson’s disease become less able to control their bodily movements and emotions. The disorder can be treated with deep-brain stimulation, where an implanted device surgically sends electrical signals into affected brain regions. People with the disorder, however, visit their doctors only every few months to assess their conditions and make any adjustments in treatments. Otherwise, many patients need to recall their symptoms after the fact, an error-prone technique.

Medtronic makes an implanted deep-brain stimulation system called Percept PC that delivers electrical signals for Parkinson’s disease therapy, but also captures and collects brain signals that physicians can access for making adjustments more frequently. The system includes a mobile app that tracks battery life and offers data for the physician to make personalized adjustments in deep-brain therapy.

Rune Labs is a neurological analytics company that designs software for data from medical equipment and wearable devices to provide more precise diagnostics for neurodegenerative diseases. The company’s technology seeks to integrate and synchronize data from deep-brain systems, brain images, and wearable devices from large numbers of patients and over longer periods of time. Rune Labs says its databases provide large-scale data volumes for detailed analytics, including deep learning algorithms.

Data from up to 1,000 patients

The company also offers a mobile app for Apple iPhones and watches called StrivePD that acts like a real-time diary for Parkinson’s disease patients to capture symptoms, offer reminders and track medications, and note deep-brain stimulation sessions. The app also provides periodic summary insights as feedback for patients and caregivers.

In their collaboration, Medtronic is providing data from up to 1,000 Parkinson’s disease patients with Percept PC devices collected for a year to Rune Labs for analysis, then forwarded to their physicians. Participants will also provide data from their StrivePD or similar apps to capture individual symptoms and medication history, also analyzed by Rune Labs. The companies say the deep-brain devices can monitor highly granular electrical signals called local field potentials, captured in the immediate space outside neurons, which Rune Labs says can be correlated with patients’ symptom reports.

Data from the collaboration are expected to provide physicians with unique insights enabling more personalized therapy decisions for Parkinson’s disease patients. “Neuromodulation devices are adding to the large pool of brain data available,” says Rune Labs’ founder and CEO Brian Pepin in a company statement released through Cision, “but there has been limited progress in utilizing this data to directly impact Parkinson’s disease treatment.” Pepin adds, “This collaboration represents progress in the neuromodulation space, which currently lags behind fields such as cardiology and diabetes in terms of both objective data utilization and remote patient monitoring.”

Rune Labs is a three year-old enterprise in San Francisco. Science & Enterprise reported on the company’s first venture round in September 2021, raising nearly $23 million.

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