Jesse Medical

Startup Jesse Medical hold the exclusive rights to commercialise pioneering RMIT-developed Parkinson’s screening technology that can detect the disease before physical symptoms arise.

Breakthrough tech catches Parkinson’s early

Aiming to make the technology available within three years, Jesse Medical has signed an agreement with RMIT to commercialise it and conduct further patient trials. Aiming to start patient trials in Australia and China mid-2020, the technology is expected to be commercially available in 2022.

The technology was developed by RMIT Professor Dinesh Kumar and hisbiomedical engineering research team, which specialises in e-health and affordable diagnostic technologies. This new tool analyses specialised drawing and writing tasks to differentiate between people with and without Parkinson’s, allowing the condition to be caught earlier and therefore managed better. 

“It’s long been known that Parkinson’s Disease affects muscle control and habitual activities, so it affects how patients write and draw. Our technology translates that insight into a reliable assessment tool. The agreement with Jesse Medical is an exciting step in bringing this much-needed technology into the hands of clinicians, to benefit the many people around the world affected by this condition,” said Professor Kumar.

Developing a world-first diagnostic tool

With the majority of Parkinson’s treatments at their most effective in the initial stages of the disease, researchers have worked hard to develop an early diagnostic tool. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial for limiting the irreversible nerve damage Parkinson’s causes in the brain.

Years of research led to the first phase technology with a remarkable 93 per cent accuracy rate. Though not suitable for widespread use, it was a promising start and the research team worked hard to create the advanced version now licensed to Jesse Medical.

A simple yet effective screening test

The technology is so sophisticated it can account for the effects of medication on the disease. This means it can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment and the severity of a patient’s condition. It’s also able to provide more detail about a patient’s symptoms to their treating doctors.

Despite its sophistication, the screening test is relatively simple. It requires patients to complete seven dexterity tasks on a drawing tablet, from writing to joining dots in a spiral shape. Upon completion, the test creates a patient-specific baseline for different aspects of complicated Parkinson’s symptoms.

Data from the screening test are transmitted over the cloud and customised software records the results, analysing them in real time. This software is readily compatible with existing technologies so the screening test can be easily completed using only a pen, paper and drawing tablet.

“The standard multi-modal physical tests carried out by clinicians to monitor its progress inherently carry a level of subjectivity. Our technology is completely objective and it’s highly sensitive for both improvements and deterioration in dexterity. As our population ages, the number of people living with Parkinson’s is expected to increase dramatically, so knowing more precisely how the disease is progressing and understanding the effect of different treatments will be crucial in helping them manage their condition,” said Professor Kumar.

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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.