gaitQ awarded NIHR grant for Parkinson’s wearable tech

pharmafile | March 29, 2021 | News story | Sales and Marketing Parkinson's, medical technology 

The UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has awarded a £135,000 grant to gaitQ, a spin-off from the University of Oxford, for the development of a wearable, smart medical device to help overcome Parkinson’s gait freezing episodes.

The grant will enable gaitQ to focus on improving the usability of its system for people with Parkinson’s, optimising its offer, and ensuring the necessary regulatory support is in place to guide the company towards commercialisation.

Tristan Collins, CEO of gaitQ, said: “We are pleased to receive this funding from the NIHR to accelerate our product development and support our business and commercial strategy. We consider this support a great validation of our technology and its potential to help tackle gait freeze and improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s.”

Throughout the grant-funded project, gaitQ will be working with Parkinson’s UK at both national and regional levels including the Parkinson’s UK Oxford Branch, to help gain access to those suffering from Parkinson’s and provide advice on the conduct and analysis of the proposed study.

The grant forms part of the NIHR’s Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme which supports the preclinical and clinical development of medical technologies in areas of existing or emerging patient need.

Around 45% of people with Parkinson’s eventually develop gait-freezing, an intermittent failure to initiate or maintain walking – often described as the most debilitating symptom of the condition. gaitQ’s first product will be a cueing device that helps individuals overcome gait-freezing episodes and maintain their levels of activity for longer. A cueing device uses external temporal or spatial stimuli to facilitate movement or gait initiation and continuation.

Powered by proprietary machine learning algorithms, gaitQ’s technology has been in development for more than three years within Oxford University’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Physiology Anatomy & Genetics. A recent clinical study has demonstrated preliminary efficacy results showing a reduction in gait freezing events of 55%, a reduction of freeze duration of 73%, and an overall improvement in walking metrics.

Kat Jenkins

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