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University of Limerick to collaborate on new €42m European digital health research project

New UL Vice-President for Research, Professor Norelee Kennedy, is project lead at UL on the European research project IDEA-FAST Picture: Sean Curtin/True Media
Wed, 12 Feb 2020

University of Limerick is collaborating on a groundbreaking new €42m European digital health research project to examine fatigue and sleep disturbances in neurodegenerative disorders and immune-mediated inflammatory diseases.

New UL Vice-President for Research, Professor Norelee Kennedy, is project lead at UL on the European research project to Identify Digital Endpoints to Assess Fatigue, Sleep and Activities of daily living (IDEA-FAST) in the neurodegenerative disorders (NDD) Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease and in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMID) rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, primary Sjögren's syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

IDEA-FAST is co-funded by the European Union (represented by the European Commission) and the European pharmaceutical industry (represented by EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) under the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking (IMI JU) programme.

It consists of 46 members from 14 different European countries, including pharmaceutical companies, academic and not-for-profit institutions, small- and medium-sized enterprises and patient organisations aimed to play complementary roles in achieving the agreed goals.

Fatigue and sleep disturbances are common and disabling symptoms that affect patients with NDD and IMID, impacting on daily activities and are the major causes of poor quality of life and increased healthcare cost. Current questionnaire-based approaches to measure these symptoms have key limitations preventing them from being used as reliable endpoints in clinical trials to evaluate the effect of therapies.

Based on the advancement of wearable and portable digital technology, the IDEA-FAST project aims to address these issues by identifying novel digital endpoints for fatigue, sleep disturbances and disabilities in daily activities.

The final ambitious goal is to provide more objective, sensitive, reliable and ecological measures of the severity and impact of these symptoms in real-world settings. Such digital endpoints will eventually improve the efficiency of clinical trials, ultimately reducing the time and cost to bringing new therapies to patients.

Professor Norelee Kennedy is the UL lead and clinical partner on IDEA-FAST, which is being led by Newcastle University, Great Britain and University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, Germany as academic co-leaders, and by Janssen Pharmaceutica NV and Takeda Pharmaceuticals International as industry co-leaders.

The research taking place in UL will be done in collaboration with Professor Alexander Fraser, Consultant Rheumatologist and general physician at University Hospital Limerick, who is also an honorary Senior Lecturer at UL.

This project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 853981. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme and EFPIA and Parkinson’s Disease Society of the United Kingdom LBG.

For more see https://ideafast.eu.