The study is aimed at understanding adherence patterns for pre-exposure prophylaxis, an HIV prevention drug.

eTectRx's ingestion sensors to be used in HIV drug study at Brigham and Women's Hospital

By Laura Lovett

A new study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in partnership with The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health will be using eTectRx’s ingestion event monitoring system to research adherence of the HIV prevention drug Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). 

PrEP is a preventative drug designed to be taken by people who do not have HIV but are at risk for the condition. and must be taken everyday, according to the CDC.

In this study the medication will be paired with eTectRx’s ID-Cap System, an ingestible event marker than features “in vivo communications technology between an ingestible sensor and an external wearable reader.” The system will include the capsule, tag and reader, enabling the clinician and the patient to look at adherence data. 

The study, which is funded by Truvada's manufacturer, Gilead Science, will last 90 days and recruit patients already receiving care at Fenway Health. 

Why it matters

As of 2016, over a million people in the United States had HIV — that same year, 15,807 people with HIV died, according to the CDC. In the US gay and bisexual men account for 66 percent of all HIV diagnosis. 

If taken correctly by such high-risk populations, it can decrease the chance of HIV infection by 99 percent, although the level of protection decreases based on the number of days missed.

“Improved medication adherence is an essential strategy for ending the spread of HIV,” Dr. Kenneth H. Mayer, medical director and co-chair of The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health, said in a statement. “We are enthusiastically supporting Dr. Chai’s research in this area and looking forward to seeing the results.”

What's the trend 

Brigham and Women’s Hospital and eTectRx have teamed up before. In 2017 the pair ran a study to see if eTectRx’s digital pill technology could allow practitioners to better understand patient opioid adherence, and pave the way for more appropriate dosage and use of the drugs. 

The other major player in the ingestible sensor arena is Proteus. The company landed FDA approval for the jointly created Abilify MyCite, which allowed the digital ingestion tracking system to be combined with a medication, which was a collaboration with Otsuka. Before that designation, hospital pharmacies had to take the pill and add the chip. 

On the record 

“We are honored that these world-class institutions have selected etectRx’s ID-Cap technology to aid in the study of this life-changing prevention therapy,” Harry J. Travis, president and CEO of etectRx, said in a statement. “We look forward to assessing the impact that the ID-Cap System can have on the lives of people at risk of contracting HIV.”

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