Your morning summary of digital health news, information and events to know about if you want to be “in the know”. 

👇 News 

🙌 Findings from a pilot project involving utilisation of a device to perform digital otoscopy have been published by South West London ICB, with the report highlighting positive staff and patient responses; nearly 90 percent of patients being seen in less than four weeks; and cost savings of over £250,000 over the pilot’s 12 months. To address “a lack of equitable and free NHS hearing health services” in SWL, the ICB developed the ‘Hearing Health Pathway Pilot’ to be delivered across 21 community pharmacy sites; it involved pharmacy staff utilising a three-in-one otoscopy device to perform digital otoscopy, earwax removal and hearing checks. 

📈 TidalSense, a company dedicated to improving the lives of those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, is developing AI-powered diagnostic and monitoring technologies that address the critical issues of delayed diagnosis and limited access to treatment for these lung conditions. Its focus is on creating solutions that enable faster, more accurate diagnosis and more effective management of respiratory diseases. Its AI tech has already been used by over 1,000 patients in clinical studies spanning five years. 

👃 The medical technology company NOSA Plugs AB has developed a new solution that enables rapid and long-lasting drug administration through the nose. This technology enables drugs to be delivered in gaseous form, via the company’s patented nasal plug, which facilitates primary absorption of drugs via the central nervous system instead of via the blood. This new form of administration opens up treatment opportunities for diseases that currently lack sufficient alternatives. The company announced that it has received positive results in independent lab tests, which marks the first step in the development towards becoming the future of drug delivery. 

🧬 Women are more likely than men to develop autoimmune disorders, making up 90% of lupus patients and 95% of those with Sjögren’s syndrome, for example. To understand why, scientists have looked at X chromosomes. Females carry two copies while males have one — except people with Klinefelter’s syndrome. They have two X’s and one Y, and while biologically male, they have an increased risk of autoimmunity compared to XY males. That caught the eye of Stanford scientists, who figured something on the X chromosome contributes to autoimmunity. Now, they’ve found that something in mice: Xist, an RNA molecule that joins proteins to keep female cells from activating a double (and deadly) dose of X chromosome genes. That molecule can steer the body toward the friendly fire that defines autoimmune disorders. “This is like a completely different and novel explanation for female bias in immune disease,” said Howard Chang, the study’s senior author. 

✅ Health company Cyted has received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its EndoSign cell collection device, which is a non-endoscopic capsule sponge device used to collect pan-esophageal samples. These samples are then sent for laboratory testing to detect esophageal pre-cancer and other conditions. Effective immediately, this 510(k) FDA clearance is an exciting step to bringing the Heartburn Health Check with EndoSign, into new markets. Commercialisation plans are already underway, facilitated by a new partnership with Devyser Genomic Laboratories announced earlier this month. 

Did you know that? 

Kidney cancer is the seventh most common cancer in men and women in the UK, with 13,322 new cases annually. Around 4,700 people in the UK die each year from the condition (that’s around 13 people every day), and mortality rates have increased by 73% since the 1970s. 

The earlier kidney cancer is diagnosed, the better the outcome for patients. But a new survey report released by Kidney Cancer UK – the UK’s leading kidney cancer charity – has found that almost one in four (23%) kidney cancer patients are being initially misdiagnosed with a range of more than 10 conditions before reaching the correct diagnosis. 

🔊 What we’re listening to   

National cancer care provider GenesisCare, is sponsoring breast cancer charity Future Dreams third season of their award-winning podcast ‘And then came breast cancer’ hosted by BBC broadcaster and breast cancer survivor, Victoria Derbyshire. Over the series of 12 weekly podcasts launching today (6 February), Future Dreams will tackle key issues to help women with breast cancer meet the emotional, psychological and physical challenges of diagnosis and treatment, in the most positive way possible.  

The podcast is available on all major podcast platforms. Search for ‘And Then Came Breast Cancer’ or listen on the Future Dreams website. 

🚨 This week’s events 

6-7 February, The King’s Fund (online) – Delivering effective place-based care