Cancer patients set to EMBRaCE wearable technologies

1 min read

Wearable technologies are being used in EMBRaCE, a trial involving patients in Greater Manchester who have received cancer treatment.

Smart ring and smart watch set to be used in the EMBRaCE trial

The commercially-available health sensors and devices will produce a digital fingerprint of vital signs that could allow doctors to assess the progress of their patients.

EMBRaCE (Enhanced Monitoring for Better Recovery and Cancer Experience) is a collaboration between Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Manchester University.

The trial opens initially for blood cancer, lung, and colorectal cancer patients and the technologies under investigation include a finger worn ring from Finnish company Oura, the Withings ScanWatch, and chest worn Isansys system.

The wearable technologies assess vital signs including electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate, temperature, physical activity levels and sleep.

Dr Anthony Wilson, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Critical Care at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), part of MFT, is the clinical lead for the project.

"Cancer places a huge burden on the lives of people everywhere,” he said in a statement. “This study uses cutting-edge technology that can monitor people during their treatment, with devices that they can wear all the time. We hope that it will provide new insights into how people cope with cancer treatment and what we can do to improve their recovery.”

EMBRaCE is funded by the GM Cancer Digital Innovation Fund, UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in collaboration with Aptus Clinical and Zenzium Ltd, whose AI will analyse and identify key patterns within patient data.

Anthony D. Bashall, managing director of Zenzium, said: “We firmly believe the future of healthcare will be driven by continuous rather than episodic measurements to improve patient outcomes on an individual basis.

“We are excited to be part of this ground-breaking collaboration with some of the best entities in the field, which gives us the opportunity to bring our technology, knowledge and expertise in wearable devices enabled by AI to potentially make a real difference in the lives of patients.”

Steve Sweeney, cancer survivor and chair of the group of patients who have advised the project commented: "A cancer diagnosis is fraught with a variety of challenges for patients, way beyond the clinical treatment pathway itself.

“We know patients have anxiety around ongoing monitoring and the gap between GP and hospital cancer care, issues with fatigue and sleep disturbance, problems maintaining fitness and the need for greater psychological support.

“The EMBRaCE programme addresses these challenges head on, allowing participants to take more proactive control of their cancer journey through wearables and the data they provide clinicians. These patient pioneers will help shape the future of cancer care in the UK.”