mHealth: building a mobile companion app for cancer sufferers

Cancer treatment is a very complex and painful process demanding the highest level of accuracy from both physician and patient. And it is also an area where mobile technology can assist with treatment.

Relatris‘s insight:

migrate2mobile is a company supporting their clients to go mobile with their existing products and information. They published a summary of benefits mobile applications can have for cancer patients. While some of these are really supportive (e.g. symptom tracking), others seem to be rather constructed- or which patient really needs to do blood count tracking or units conversion? Still, they list some classical examples where mhealth is useful for both, patients and doctors.

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US government shuts down- affecting clinical trials and research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) stopped processing grants, some government websites were made inaccessible and many important research programmes were left hanging, potentially putting lives at risk in the case of some disease studies. Use of government telephones and e-mail was also suspended. The restrictions were still in place as Nature went to press.

At the NIH, headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, 73% of the agency’s 18,646 employees were immediately placed on furlough, or enforced leave. The agency also stopped accepting patients for its clinical trials or initiating new studies. Minimal staff remain to care for lab animals and to protect NIH facilities.

Relatris‘s insight:

I realized how much of the services of the US government I actually use regularly when visiting the PubMed and webpages that both aren’t updated anymore. Luckily clinical trials on run at NIH can still be continued. But the halt in both, new trial initiation and NSF research and grant processing, will have a long-term impact.

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V-Learning: Targeting MET with an emphasis on NSCLC

Solange Peters, Lecturer of the new V-learing module on MET

ESMO’s strategic goal is to continually develop on-line educational tools for professionals in the field of Medical Oncology and foster new challenging CME opportunities for ESMO Members

What is ESMO V-Learning?

Recent scientific discoveries in cancer and signalling pathways for which an update of knowledge is needed and for its complete understanding additional video material is beneficialScience in cancer is moving rapidly and to keep in pace with rapid progresses, more complete understanding of molecular biology/pathology, or technological advances is needed. The V-Learning platform is ideal to present such novelties end enhance understanding of clinicians by additional visual components beyond classical slide presentationIt present in more realistic way what’s going on at the cancer cell level and provide in more details the mechanistic aspects involved in different cancer processes

Relatris‘s insight:

The European Society for Medical Oncologists has many great resources for (continued) education. The newest family member are V-Learning lectures: slides and video sections combined (with questionnaires). Video lectures with slides are the format of the widely popular MOOCs, providing a more personal way of teaching than just hearing a voice from the off while seeing some slides. This integration of new trends in education into their continued education lectures is an innovative way of ESMO to further improve their programms.

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Augmented Reality iPad App Guides Surgeons During Tumor Removal

A new iPad app from Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS in Germany is using augmented reality technology to help surgeons excise liver tumors without damaging critical vessels within the organ.

A CT scan is performed before the surgery and the imaged vessels are identified within software, all of which is then transferred to the iPad. During the procedure the surgeon can navigate the imaged liver to see where the vessels are, and if the camera is turned on and pointed at the exposed liver the app automatically superimposes the vessel structure of the organ onto the live picture. Notably, the app is not simply a concept, but was already tested successfully during a liver tumor removal at Asklepios Klinik Barmbek in Hamburg.

Relatris‘s insight:

As with many of these innovations, this application first has to proof usability in daily routine- but again the creativity of the new tools developed and the pace of their development is highly fascinating.

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Smartphone game ‘GeneGame’ to crowdsource cancer research

Gamers playing a Cancer Research UK smartphone app set for launch this autumn will be helping to find new treatments for cancer.

Currently titled “GeneGame”, users of the app will be analysing genetic data and helping to pinpoint the genetic causes of cancer as they play.

“2013 is the year that we’re changing the face of cancer research”

Amy Carton, Cancer Research UK

“We have terabytes, upon petabytes of genetic data,” Cancer Research UK’s citizen science lead Amy Carton told “The nature of that data is such that humans are far better at analysing it than an algorithm.”

Hidden in that data, some of which originates from studies carried out in the 1970s, could be information that points researchers towards new treatments for cancer. The vast amount of data means that, unfortunately, “our scientists are not getting through it fast enough,” says Carton.

That’s where the power of the crowd comes in. There are millions of smartphone users spending million of minutes a day playing smartphone games like Kingdom Rush. Carton wants to tap into huge amount of human effort and direct it towards medical research.

Relatris‘s insight:

News from the UK cance gamification app. What initially started as an initiative involving Facebook, Google and Amazon will now be carried out by a company named Guerilla Tea. Looking forward being a citizen scientist having fun doing research 🙂

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Docwise is an app that helps physicians stay up to date on medical journals and news

Docwise is a medical app that aggregates new articles from medical journals and medical news sources.  There are similar applications, such as Read by QxMD and Docphin, but with this app, physicians also have the ability to select their favorite medical news sourcesDocwise is a medical app that aggregates new articles from medical journals and medical news sources.  There are similar applications, such as Read by QxMD and Docphin, but with this app, physicians also have the ability to select their favorite medical news sources such as Medscape.

Relatris‘s insight:

There are quiet some journal aggregator apps available. In this review, Docwise is tested, an aggregator in magazine style that also lets you add news sources. The addition of journals is very handy, and with the exeption of highlighting, all necessary options are available.

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e-ESO ePatCare

ESO has just launched ePatCare:

ePatCare for ESO is an innovative and interactive platform for viewing, creating, sharing and presenting patient cases.

Visit the ESO ePatCare store to view the ePatCare for ESO patient case library.

Simply select the cases that interest you and save them to your own personal ePatCare Cloud – you can now view your cases whenever you wish!

Navigate cases either chronologically or one department at a time by taking a virtual tour. Just choose your preferred view.

Creating cases is intuitive and sharing with your colleagues is simple.You can also edit your cases, adding more information as your patient’s treatment progresses.

Relatris‘s insight:

e-ESO, the electronic European School of Oncology, now offers an ePatCare plattform for its participants. This tool was developed by Boehringer Ingelheim and launched in 2012. It offers an easy and intuitive way to present patient cases for education (like at e-ESO) and discussion. Unfortunately there is no description of any implemented social tool (not even a comment function?) to fasciliate discussion of cases, which would enable some kind of virtual tumor board meetings.

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Google Glass in the OR and in Medical Education: Becoming a Disruptive Technology

It’s not the first time I say Google Glass can be the biggest hit in medical technology this yeas, and now as the number of good examples is still rising, it’s becoming more and more evident. Here are a few cases and experiments.
Rafael Grossmann, MD, FACS had a pilot project with this team about the use of Google Glass in medical education. Here is his summary:
Lucien Engelen and his team at REshape created a video that shows what a regular patient-doctor interaction would look like with the Google Glass and what additional features it could add to the process:

Relatris‘s insight:
Some people are scared of Google Glasses, others disguise technologies like these, and still others are fascinated by the possibilities those glasses could bring, and play around to explore the chances and limitations.  It is impressing what is going on, whether the glasses will ever find really useful applications or not. Here are some examples of what people try to do. Find more by googling.

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