Helius Therapeutics has launched a collaboration with the University of Canterbury (UC) to test how accurately conditions such as stress, anxiety and chronic pain can be measured using wearable devices.
Traditionally, assessments and medical impacts on such conditions are measured subjectively by patients, with variable results. UC engineering students will assess the measurability potential of wearable technologies such as FitBit, Garmin and Google watches. They will evaluate algorithms, consider clinical needs, and develop methods to download data.
Helius said the project will help plug a need among healthcare professionals for more data to support their medicinal cannabis journey.
Chief executive Carmen Doran added: “Helius is committed to providing clinical evidence to prescribers and leading substantive research into quality-of-life measures for patients.
“Providing absolute data to healthcare professionals will ultimately help improve much-wanted patient access to medicinal cannabis.
“Innovation and collaboration are key to New Zealand creating world-leading efficacious, novel, and safe next-generation medicinal cannabis therapeutics.”
UC’s Professor Geoff Chase said the collaboration seeks to advance objective measurements that can be made in clinical drug trials involving cannabis.
He added: “Importantly, it brings a nascent New Zealand industry together with our prior research experience. Students gain valuable experience to apply their engineering skills to real problems. At the same time, sponsoring industry partners make innovative and commercial strides knowing they’ve also added to the knowledge base of future graduates.”
Mentoring the project with Professor Chase is Helius board member and pain specialist Dr Rick Acland.