Texas hospital testing Proteus's ingestible sensor with pediatric organ transplant patients

By Jonah Comstock

Proteus Digital Health is working with Children's Health in Dallas, Texas in one of the first trials of its ingestible sensor technology in pediatric patients, The Dallas Morning News reports.

The trial involves patients recovering from an organ transplant, a group that typically needs to take a lot of medications on a fairly strict schedule. Fifteen patients are using the Proteus platform now and Children's Dallas ultimately intends to enroll 75. 

The Proteus digital medicine platform, called Proteus Discover, is a medication management and adherence system that includes measurement tools like sensor-enabled pills, a peel-and-stick biometric sensor patch worn on the body, and a companion tablet app. The patch records when a pill is ingested and can also track other things like sleep patterns and physical activity levels. The ingestible sensor component secured FDA clearance in July 2012, while the company’s sensor-laden patch got FDA clearance in 2010. In January, Proteus teamed up with Barton Health for its first US provider trial.

Working with kids has some differences from working with adult patients. For instance, Children's Health told the Dallas Morning News that young patients with a more active lifestyle (the patient they profiled, a kidney transplant recipient, is six) need to replace their adhesive patch more often than the group of more-sedentary adults Proteus worked with in initial testing.

They also report that the technology has already prevented at least one incidence of nonadherence, detecting that one teenage patient had failed to double their dose of blood pressure medication as recommended by their doctor. The care team phoned the patient and found that the patient just needed a reminder.

Right now, the Proteus system still requires its own separate pill, which makes it somewhat of a harder sell for transplant patients, who already take a lot of pills. But, once the FDA clears Proteus's combined offering, Children's is ready to incorporate the sensor into existing medications at their pharmacy. Update: Proteus also has a third option available in which the pill and the sensor are co-encapsulated in a gelcap-type offering.

The hospital plans to publish a whitepaper once the 75-patient trial concludes.