This feasibility study will be led by LYIT research lecturers Dr. William Scott and Dr. James Connolly in association with LUH research oncology nurse Mary Grace Kelly and consultant oncologist Dr. Karen Duffy.
"Cancer-related fatigue (CRF)—which is distinct from normal tiredness that may be resolved by periods of sleep or rest—is a well-recognized symptom of malignant breast disease. In fact, it may affect up to 70 percent of those undergoing therapy or deemed to be in remission," said Dr. Scott. "This type of fatigue recurs unpredictably and can result in unavoidable and unforeseen reduction in quality of life for those individuals affected. Management of this condition can also place significant financial burden on health and social care facilities."
"Previous research studies have suggested that modulations in the levels of certain plasma or salivary markers may be involved in the advancement of CRF symptoms. However, results from these studies are often conflicting and no individual marker or group of markers has been attributed to the cause of this fatigue. This has major implications for the development of predictive models of recurrence and the design of potential physiological and pharmacological interventions," added Dr. Connolly.
"Part of the problem is that earlier studies have failed to identify an accurate baseline for fatigue and have instead relied on subjective patient perceptions of inactivity and exhaustion," said Dr. Scott. "Our study aims to establish an accurate fatigue baseline for individuals diagnosed with breast cancer to determine relationships between potential fatigue markers, measurable daily activity and sleep, and individual perceptions of fatigue."
To that end, study participants will wear one of Shimmer's Verisense Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) on their wrist to monitor their sleep patterns and activity levels continuously throughout the study.
"Shimmer's technology was designed specifically for use in clinical trials and differs in several significant aspects from typical off-the-shelf fitness trackers. For example, the Verisense wearable sensor does not require regular charging—its battery lasts for up to six months! Also, Verisense data is automatically uploaded to a remote cloud platform without any patient involvement, making it truly a low-stress, no-hassle device. Research staff can then remotely monitor patients' activity and sleep levels, check whether patients are wearing their device, monitor sensor battery status, and reduce the amount of patient-researcher time required to run the clinical study," said Geoffrey Gill, president of Shimmer Americas.
The Verisense wearable sensor platform will improve the efficiency and management of this feasibility study through speed of data collection, as well as remote monitoring of patient participation.