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healthcare ITIBM and Pfizer have announced a research collaboration with the intention of improving how clinicians deliver care to Parkinson’s patients.

The collaboration will be built on a system of sensors, mobile devices, and IBM Watson’s machine learning capabilities, to provide real-time disease symptom information to clinicians and researchers. The team aim to gain a better understanding as to how the disease progresses as well as how patients react to certain medications, to design future clinical trials and also speed up the development of new therapies.

“We have an opportunity to potentially redefine how we think about patient outcomes and 24/7 monitoring, by combining Pfizer’s scientific, medical and regulatory expertise with IBM’s ability to integrate and interpret complex data in innovative ways,” said Mikael Dolsten, President of Pfizer Worldwide R&D.

According to the World Health Organization, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s affect almost one billion families around the world, Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, and an estimated seven to 10 million people suffer from the disease globally.

“The key to our success will be to deliver a reliable, scalable system of measurement and analysis that would help inform our clinical programs across important areas of unmet medical need, potentially accelerating the drug development and regulatory approval processes and helping us to get better therapies to patients, faster,” said Dolsten.

The collaboration seeks to create a holistic view of a patient’s well-being by seeking to accurately measure a variety of health indicators. Data generated through the system could also arm researchers with the insights and real-world evidence needed to help accelerate potential new and better therapies.

“With the proliferation of digital health information, one area that remains elusive is the collection of real-time physiological data to support disease management,” said Arvind Krishna, SVP at IBM Research. “We are testing ways to create a system that passively collects data with little to no burden on the patient, and to provide doctors and researchers with objective, real-time insights that we believe could fundamentally change the way patients are monitored and treated.”

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