Published: 27 February 2014

Surrey secures €6m for revolutionary cancer care research

Innovative eSMART project will trial the use of mobile phone technology to remotely monitor patients undergoing chemotherapy.

The University of Surrey is leading a pioneering research project that could transform cancer care – and significantly reduce healthcare costs – by enabling cancer care clinicians to monitor patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast, bowel and blood cancers via mobile phone.

The eSMART (Electronic Symptom Management using Advanced Symptom Management System Remote Technology) project involves giving patients a mobile phone with an app-like programme that helps them to identify and record their chemotherapy symptoms twice a day. This information is sent securely to a computer which assesses the symptoms and triggers an immediate alert to doctors or nurses if the patient requires assistance. The phone also offers patients real-time information and advice on how to manage their symptoms at home, without the need to travel to hospital.  

Researchers believe the system will reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, and help to identify and treat life-threatening side effects much quicker than current care systems. 

See the phone in action and learn more about this research in the video to the right-hand side of this page. 

The €6 million grant from the European Union will fund a large trial of the system involving 1,000 patients in England, Austria, Greece, Holland, Ireland and Norway, with the hope that this type of patient monitoring will be integrated into routine cancer care in the future. 

Professor Nora Kearney, Professor of Cancer Care and Head of the School of Health Sciences, said: “Over 3 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year in Europe and it is likely that this number will increase by at least 65% over the next 20 years.

“Given this predicted increase, the need for personalised cancer care is becoming even more crucial.  Our system will give patients continual support both during and after chemotherapy, while allowing them to remain in the comfort of their own homes. It will revolutionise the way our healthcare system supports people with cancer.”

The research team is also developing and testing the system for use by people with other types of cancer and long-term conditions such as heart failure. 

Learn more about research within the School of Health Sciences.

Read the full press release here

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