Eccrine Systems pioneers a technology that could change the face of medicine.
Medications can be as dangerous as they are effective. Indeed, a handful of drugs like chemotherapy are closely monitored with blood tests, since their misuse can be lethal. But the vast majority of drugs are prescribed with one-size-fits-all dosing, regardless of a person’s age, weight, or gender. “And that’s a real problem because we as individuals metabolize those drugs very differently,” explains Gavi Begtrup, CEO of Eccrine Systems. Doctors know this is a bad system without many better alternatives in place, and its impact is staggering: Billions of these prescriptions go out to US patients every year.
The solution lies in personalization. And thanks to the innovations at Eccrine Systems, we can now continuously monitor a person’s individual drug levels, not with invasive and costly blood tests, but by analyzing their sweat. Based in Cincinnati, Eccrine has developed a non-invasive, wearable, electronic device that patients could use to easily (and painlessly) track their personal drug responses to everything from Ibuprofen to Lipitor. The device, worn on the forearm, stimulates a small amount of sweat, analyses it, and--eventually--will send data directly to the patient’s doctor, who can then adjust the dosing as needed and also monitor compliance and side effects.
The innovation is in the method: “Using sweat to personalize drug therapy is a surprisingly new idea,” says Begtrup.