An app for Gemelli hospital’s cancer patients

The Gemelli ART (Advanced Radiation Therapy) of the Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS has developed an application to monitor patients undergoing radiotherapy.

The app will collect a series of biometric data from the patient, also by connecting to wearable Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as saturometers, pedometers and smartwatches. These data, processed using sophisticated Artificial Intelligence algorithms, will make it possible to monitor the state of health of patients undergoing radiant treatment, guaranteeing a continuous therapeutic path with less risk of complications, even at a complex time like the present.

Through this monitoring system, co-developed from the Healthentia platform whose licence for use during the COVID-19 pandemic was donated to Policlinico Gemelli by the Belgian company Innovation Sprint, a series of information is collected, from the distances travelled every day to oxygen saturation in the blood, currently considered valuable for the early detection of a possible SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19). This system is also able to detect elements useful for the evaluation of toxicity linked to radiant treatment during the course of treatment in radiotherapy and in the first follow-up period.

The same methods of health protection during the COVID-19 pandemic will be proposed to healthcare workers who, by assisting a high volume of patients every day, while adopting all kinds of procedures to prevent infection, are potentially exposed to the risk of infection. This modality will also allow the Radiotherapy Service to organise its operations on the basis of objective data, flexible and able to guarantee the continuity of treatment to patients undergoing treatment in safety.

The oncological patient – says Professor Vincenzo Valentini, Director of Gemelli ART (Advanced Radiation Therapy) and Deputy Scientific Director of Policlinico Germelli – embodies the individual who, although fragile, needs to go to a hospital environment exposing himself to considerable infectious risks in order to receive the appropriate treatment. In the same way, health workers, in their daily relations with their patients, are more exposed to the same risk. Developing non-invasive health protection tools, exploiting the best available technology and integrating it into the care processes is our goal“.

We are aware that the pandemic has imposed a re-discussion of the approach to the cancer patient – says Dr. Luca Tagliaferri, Oncologist Radiotherapist and contact person for the project – but thanks to research like this we can find new opportunities for our patients in modern technologies. In fact, our patients will be able to share with the treatment team numerous health and behavioural parameters, either automatically or by entering the data in special questionnaires through the application, thus allowing us to identify the early signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection or any side effects of treatment. In this way an immediate health response and therefore an optimisation of the therapeutic process is facilitated“.

In addition to the development of the GENERATOR Tracer RT for cancer patients undergoing radiant treatment at Policlinico Gemelli, two other versions of the protocol are being studied. The first, called INTERFACE, will be used to monitor chronic patients with HIV infection. The second, called APACHE, will be used for patients with gynaecological neoplasms. For both of these versions, studies are being launched to validate the individual protocols, which will also allow them to be used in other healthcare facilities.

Thanks to this innovative research, Policlinico Gemelli confirms its national and international positioning as a reference centre for the treatment of cancer patients and in particular for the use of the most modern technologies for the optimisation of treatment.

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