Lundquist Institute Investigator Dr. Eric Daar and Research Team Find That HIV Patients Benefit from Ingestible Sensor Technology on HIV Treatment

Findings Published in The Lancet Ebiomedicine Demonstratethe Positive Effect of State-of-the-Art Ingestible Sensor for HIV Therapeutics

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Dr. Eric Daar, Investigator at The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, is the co-principal investigator for the $4 million National Institute of Mental Health grant that supported research which found that HIV patients whose drug regimen was monitored by an innovative ingestible sensor system were more adherent to antiretrovirals (ARVs) and, in turn, experienced lower viral loads. The findings – “Ingestible Sensor System for Measuring, Monitoring and Enhancing Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy: An Open-label, Usual Care‐controlled, Randomized Trial” – were published on November 11 in The Lancet Ebiomedicine.

The team of researchers included investigators from UCLA, Nebraska Medical Center, Yale University, and Harvard University. The team evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, and sustainability of using the Proteus Digital Health Feedback (PDHF) Information Technology system, assessed its accuracy and evaluated its efficacy for monitoring and leveraging adherence to medications. The published findings are a significant step forward in measuring and monitoring medication adherence in HIV-AIDS patients and developing real-time interventions in a population which requires heightened medical surveillance

“When patients first enrolled in our study they were having trouble with consistent adherence to their medications. During the course of the study they often expressed that the ingestible sensor technology system provided them with the extra feedback and support they needed to successfully control their HIV infection,” said Dr. Daar, Chief, Division of HIV Medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

PDHF uses a tiny, edible sensor that is over-encapsulated along with medication. When ingested, it is sensed by a patch with an embedded monitor and sensor that is worn by the patient. The monitor sends a Bluetooth signal to a mobile device, which in turn sends an encrypted message to a central server that records, in real-time, that a dose of medication has just been taken.

“After more than two decades of improvement in technology, ingestible sensor technology is, to date, the most cutting-edge and accurate IT-based method for measuring and monitoring adherence behavior with wireless and real-time processes through a mobile device,” said Dr. Honghu Liu, co-principal investigator for the study and chair of the Section of Public and Population Health in the UCLA School of Dentistry. “Our study delivered especially promising results for those who have significant challenges in adhering to antiretroviral medications.”