Health tech for Parkinson’s: NHSE rolls out automatic pump and app receives funding for second phase

NHS England has announced the roll-out of an automatic pump for patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease which is capable of delivering drug infusions “around-the-clock” through a cannula inserted under the skin, with hopes that the treatment could offer those experiencing movement-related symptoms an easier way of managing their treatment throughout the day and overnight.

The new device is described as “small and completely portable”, with an “easy to fit and remove” drug vial and cannula, which can be changed at home either by patients or their carers. The treatment, which is called foslevodopa–foscarbidopa, may also offer an alternative for those whose condition is is no longer responding to taking oral medicines.

James Palmer, NHSE’s medical director for specialised services and consultant neurosurgeon, said that the solution can “offer a vital new option on the NHS for those who aren’t suitable for other treatments such as deep brain stimulation, and we hope it will help nearly a thousand patients to manage their symptoms more effectively and go about their day with a better quality of life.”

In other news around the condition’s care, a free smartphone app called Parkinson’s ON has received funding for its second phase from charity Parkinson’s UK following its launch last year by Kuhan Pushparatnam, who was diagnosed with the condition in 2013.

The app is built to be accessible for people living with Parkinson’s, using a ‘tapping not typing’ principle, with the new features made available through the funding to include a daily log, diary function and exportable trends report with the aim of better informing the individual, carers and their health care team.

Kuhan commented: “I’ve always believed tech, when done right, can be a great enabler in daily life. So, while the world of health was new to me, the prospects of digital health to help manage chronic conditions like Parkinson’s seemed a no brainer. I set out to build a simple, ‘Parky friendly’ app that would not only empower those of us living with the condition, but ultimately allow for a better, more informed quality of care.”

HTN previously reported the news that researchers at the Moorfields Eye Hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology discovered “markers that indicate the presence of Parkinson’s disease in patients on average seven years before clinical presentation”, in “the largest study to date on retinal imaging in Parkinson’s disease”.