UK and Swiss Firms Land Multi-Million Dollar Grant for Parkinson’s Research

UK and Swiss MedTech Firms gaitQ and machineMD Secure Multi-Million Dollar Research Grant for Parkinson’s Monitoring Project


In a significant development for the field of medical technology, UK-based gaitQ and Swiss firm machineMD have successfully secured a multi-million dollar research grant aimed at advancing the monitoring and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. This groundbreaking project, supported by Innovate UK and Innosuisse, marks a critical step forward in understanding and managing this debilitating condition.

The Grant and Its Impact

GaitQ, a startup rooted in Oxford, and machineMD, a prominent Swiss medical device company, have been awarded this substantial grant to facilitate an extensive study on Parkinson’s disease. The funding will support a comprehensive research initiative over the next year and a half, tracking the movement patterns of 100 Parkinson’s patients from the UK and Switzerland.

Key Points:

  • Funding Organizations: Innovate UK and Innosuisse
  • Project Duration: 18 months
  • Participant Demographics: 100 Parkinson’s patients from the UK and Switzerland
  • Research Institutions: University of Exeter (UoE) and University Hospital Zurich (USZ)

Objectives of the Study

The primary aim of the study is to gather and analyze critical movement data from Parkinson’s patients during their everyday activities. This data will be pivotal in identifying behavioral patterns and developing more effective treatment strategies.

Specific Goals:

  • Early Detection: Identifying early indicators of Parkinson’s to initiate treatment sooner.
  • Treatment Personalization: Developing tailored treatment plans based on individual movement patterns.
  • Disease Progression Monitoring: Tracking the progression of the disease to understand its different stages and impacts on patients.

The Importance of Early Detection

Parkinson’s disease affects movement and progresses at varying rates among individuals. By pinpointing crucial stages in the disease’s progression, this study aims to equip healthcare professionals with better tools for early detection and precise diagnosis.

Dr. Tristan Collins, CEO of gaitQ, emphasized the importance of this research in helping medical professionals and physical therapists develop more personalized treatment plans, thus enabling patients to manage their condition more effectively.

Addressing Current Challenges

Dr. Ana Coito, a Neuroscientist at machineMD, highlighted a significant issue in Parkinson’s treatment: many patients do not exhibit motor symptoms until they have already lost a substantial percentage of their dopaminergic neurons. This delay in symptom onset often results in late diagnosis and treatment.

Challenges Identified:

  • Delayed Symptom Onset: Many patients show no motor symptoms until significant neuron loss has occurred.
  • Need for Precise Diagnosis: Early and accurate diagnosis remains a major challenge.
  • Importance of Regular Monitoring: Continuous monitoring is crucial for effective disease management.

Digital Indicators for Parkinson’s Disease

One of the innovative aspects of this study is the focus on digital indicators to enhance the precision of disease tracking. Digital indicators, such as data collected from wearable devices, can provide continuous monitoring of patients’ movements and symptoms. This real-time data can reveal subtle changes in gait, tremors, and other motor functions that are not easily detectable during periodic clinical visits.

For example, wearable devices like smartwatches can track tremors, dyskinesia, and other motor symptoms by using sensors to collect and analyze data continuously. This approach allows for a more holistic understanding of the disease’s progression and can help in tailoring more effective treatment plans​ (BioMed Central)​​ (PLOS)​.

Potential Breakthroughs

One notable aspect of this research is the focus on identifying digital indicators to enhance disease tracking precision. It has been observed that a significant percentage of Parkinson’s patients exhibit irregular eye movement, which could serve as a vital indicator for early detection.

Potential Outcomes:

  • Digital Indicators: Discovering new digital biomarkers for more precise tracking.
  • Prompt Treatment: Enabling earlier and more effective intervention strategies.
  • Customized Healing Approaches: Developing personalized treatment protocols based on specific digital indicators.

Official Statements from Funding Organizations

A spokesperson from Innovate UK mentioned, “Supporting innovative projects like this aligns with our mission to drive science and technology advancements. We are confident that this study will pave the way for significant improvements in Parkinson’s disease management.”

Innosuisse representatives echoed this sentiment, stating, “Our commitment to funding groundbreaking research is reflected in this collaboration. The potential to enhance early detection and treatment through advanced technologies is immense.”

The Bigger Picture

Announced on World Parkinson’s Day (April 11th), this funding underscores the importance of innovative research in combating Parkinson’s disease. With over 10 million people worldwide currently battling Parkinson’s, and projections suggesting this number could double by 2030, the need for advanced monitoring and treatment options is more critical than ever.


The collaborative efforts of gaitQ and machineMD, backed by Innovate UK and Innosuisse, promise to revolutionize the monitoring and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and extensive research, this project aims to provide new hope and improved quality of life for millions of Parkinson’s patients globally.

We invite you to share your thoughts on this significant development. How do you think advancements like these will shape the future of Parkinson’s treatment? Let us know in the comments below!

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