The principal means of measuring motor impairment in Huntington disease (HD) is the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) total motor score, which is subjective and categorical. Wearable sensors could enable objective, sensitive, continuous assessment of motor impairments in individuals with a variety of neurological movement disorders. This is important because large amounts of objective data acquired at a high frequency in a real-world setting could reduce the time and cost of early stage clinical trials. Clinically, wearable sensors for motor assessment during activities of daily living could be used to expedite and improve medication titration. In HD, wearable sensors that could detect subtle motor abnormalities in the premanifest phase of the disease would be valuable for monitoring early therapeutic intervention trials and could provide insight into the phase of clinical disease onset. We have recently completed a series of pilot studies (1 published article and 1 manuscript in preparation) supported by Auspex Pharmaceuticals (now part of Teva Pharmaceuticals) demonstrating that a wearable sensor on the torso can detect gait related motor impairments in HD and a wearable sensor on the wrist can identify the occurrence and severity of upper extremity chorea. In this Direct to Phase II SBIR we propose to build upon this Phase I equivalent pilot work by developing a telehealth system for continuous remote assessment of Huntington's chorea using wearable sensors. Based on our pilot research we propose to develop a system consisting of two wearables sensors to be worn on the dominant wrist and on the torso. In partnership with the University of Rochester, we will conduct a clinical study to improve and further validate algorithms for detecting chorea severity, and to evaluate whether sensor-derived measures can detect pharmacological response to anti-chorea medication or subtle motor abnormalities in the premanifest stage of HD. Participants will visit the clinic at baseline and then once a quarter for a total of 5 visits. Assessments will include the motor portion of the UHDRS, Q-motor assessment, a Timed-Up-and-Go walking test, and a series of simulated activities of daily living. This assessment will be conducted twice, on- and off-medication. Participants will wear the two sensors during in-clinic assessments and for a period of 1-week thereafter. There is a significant commercialization potential for the proposed technology. This includes pharmaceutical clinical trials, where the promise of wearable sensors has led to significant investment in the development of technologies for Parkinson's disease. However, the smaller patient population of individuals with Huntington's disease has been completely overlooked. This represents both a significant public health need and market opportunity for BioSensics. Teva Pharmaceuticals, who provided the financial support for our Phase I equivalent pilot work, and the Huntington's Disease Society of America have expressed an interest in the proposed technology and are supportive of our efforts (see Letters of Support).

Public Health Relevance

The principal means of measuring motor impairment in Huntington disease (HD) is the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) total motor score, which is subjective, categorical, requires significant training to administer correctly, and only captures impairments in clinic. In this Direct to Phase II SBIR we will develop a wearable sensor system for objective, sensitive, and continuous assessment of Huntington's chorea during activities of daily living. The developed technology could be used clinically to detect changes in motor function in response to medications, or could be used scientifically to expedite and reduce the cost of early stage pharmaceutical clinical trials.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Fertig, Stephanie
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Biosensics, LLC
United States
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