Health

Application developed at MUG helps detect lung cancer recurrence

Credit: Adobe Stock
Credit: Adobe Stock

The HORUS application developed at the Medical University of Gdańsk helps to detect recurrences after the end of lung cancer treatment. The software provides weekly surveys, the results of which are analysed in real time, and enables quick implementation of the necessary actions if needed.

According to scientists from the Medical University of Gdańsk, lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in Poland. Unfortunately, nearly 75% of cases are diagnosed in advanced stages. Despite modern therapies, cancer recurrences are relatively common.

Meanwhile, European research from 2017 confirms that lung cancer patients who use the applications to monitor their well-being after the end of standard treatment have significantly improved survival outcomes. 

Patients under the care of the Oncology Clinic of the Oncology and Radiotherapy Clinic of the UCC in Gdańsk due to lung cancer can now benefit from the HORUS application, developed by Dr. Ewa Pawłowska from the Oncology and Radiotherapy Clinic of the Medical University of Gdańsk.

'In recent years, the effectiveness of remote monitoring of patients has been demonstrated, using electronic patient monitoring systems (ESMCh), analysing in real time the symptoms reported by the patient via a website and/or smartphone application. In clinical trials, the analysis of symptoms reported weekly by patients in the EMCh allowed the diagnosis of recurrence of the cancer. 5 weeks earlier than standard doctor visits, enabling the implementation of oncological treatment to a greater percentage of patients', explains Ewa Pawłowska.

'In addition, the use of the application extended the overall survival of patients compared to those undergoing standard controls. Access to the EMCh and the awareness of being under constant care improved the quality of life and reduced the stress associated with waiting for the results of follow-up tomography scans', she adds.

Patients using the application have access to weekly surveys in which they can report disturbing symptoms.

The results are analysed by a special algorithm that alerts the doctor if necessary. 'Each week (Monday to Sunday) a new form with the same set of 13 well-being questions will be made available in the patient's account. In order to save and send the form data for inspection by the Clinic’s employees, it will be necessary to answer the first six questions' - the author explains the principle of operation of the application.

'All information reported by patients on a weekly basis in the application is analysed immediately after filling out the form. In the event of disturbing symptoms, the Clinic's employee contacts the patient by phone within 72 hours and informs about further proceedings', she explains.

The scientists from the Medical University of Gdańsk emphasize that the use of the application does not change the standard procedure during visits to the Oncology Clinic. It does not involve any risk associated with certain additional laboratory tests or medical procedures.

The project was financed by the Ministry of Education and Science under the 'Incubator of Innovation 4.0' programme and received funding in the amount of PLN 100,000.

'Incubator of Innovation 4.0' is implemented by the MUG's Technology Transfer Centre in a consortium consisting of the Medical University of Gdańsk (leader), the University of Gdańsk and the MUG's special purpose vehicle - the Medical Innovation Centre.

The application can be downloaded free of charge from Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gumed.teleonkologia) and AppStore (https://apps.apple.com/us/app) /horus/id1631525927).

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