Drug screening – improving the testing process
Ahead of an upcoming feature in Healthcare Global Magazine, Novoheart’s co-founder and CSO Kevin Costa gave us some insight into the issues faced when researching, developing and getting new drugs to market.
One of the big issues in the treatment of cardiac conditions currently is how difficult it is to get new drug candidates tested and approved using existing technology and parameters. Typically, the development of a new drug candidate costs US$2-4bn and takes more than a decade, with failure rates for new drugs of circa 90%.
The primary cause of drugs being withdrawn is heart toxicity. In testing, non-human and non-cardiac cells may be used which is not the optimal way to get an idea of human response and can lead to false negative or false positive clinical results, compromising overall success.
The limited number of human hearts to test on particularly impacts the proper testing of new drugs designed to treat heart condition and has in the past led to products entering the market which were unsafe.
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“The way scientists test diseases are often by simulating that disease on an animal,” explains Kevin Costa, Chief Science Officer at Novoheart. “They call these ‘knock-out mice’ or ‘transgenic mice’, where you can change aspects of the mouse to behave like the human disease… but the bottom line is, mice aren’t humans, and especially the heart is fundamentally different as the heart in a mouse will beat seven or eight times as fast.
“It’s not only faster and smaller, but there are obvious things about the heart that are different and have very fundamental consequences in terms of how the heart handles calcium, how the heart is susceptible to arrhythmias, how the heart contracts, and what the actual molecular interactions are within the hear muscle… all in all, this means the mouse heart just isn’t predictive of how human hearts behave.”
Novoheart has developed living heart tissues which can deliver a predictive accuracy of 90% or more, which has the potential to make screening processes for new medication safer, faster and cheaper. The mini heart acts as an advanced human heart surrogate and can be used by drug developers as a solution to what is currently an ineffective system.
A third of UK patients prefer mobile apps to doctor visits
A third of UK patients prefer using mobile healthcare applications to having face-to-face consultations, a new report has found.
The research, commissioned by Mobiquity and conducted by Censuswide, surveyed 100 doctors and 1,003 patients in the UK during COVID-19 to understand their experiences with digital healthcare technology and its impact on patient care.
It found that as a result of COVID-19, 33% of patients would rather use a mobile app than visit the doctor.
Additionally over a third of doctors said that using mobile healthcare applications made it easier to prescribe the right treatment for patients remotely. However respondents cited technical issues and privacy concerns as barriers to using mobile healthcare apps.
The survey's other findings include:
* 56% of UK patients plan to use mobile healthcare applications in the future after using them during COVID-19.
* 71% of doctors plan to adopt mobile healthcare applications in the future
*52% of doctors experienced technical issues, with device compatibility problems being the most frequently reported technical issue
*28% of patients cited privacy concerns when using mobile healthcare applications during COVID-19
Commenting on the report, Teun Schutte, Managing Consultant at Mobiquity said that the COVID-19 pandemic had been transformational for digital healthcare. "The pandemic has shown the importance of digital health solutions and the need for increased adoption in the future, while at the same time highlighting the benefits around ease of access to care for patients and lower costs for healthcare providers.
“The challenge that exists, however, is how to solve frictions in the delivery of mobile healthcare applications and other types of digital health in the future. Our research highlighted the main barriers to adoption for patients and practitioners, and the areas we need to optimise to ensure digital innovation is scaled successfully to improve patient outcomes. Indeed, technical issues and privacy concerns need to be solved by aligning stakeholder concerns before digital health products are launched" he added.
“By aligning the digital innovation process and creating a blueprint for scaling the next generation of digital health technologies, as an industry we can scale digital health products or services across disease areas, and across hospitals, markets and regions, ensuring that patients receive personalised, quality care through digital health technologies.”