As CEO of G-Tech Medical in Mountain View, Ca., Axelrod is spearheading the development of a technology he invented to troubleshoot the human gastrointestinal system. The device, the GutCheck Patch, is a thin, flexible unobtrusive patch (like a smart Band-Aid) worn on the skin that measures electrical activity in the GI system.
This might sound like merely a welcome advance in diagnosing the gastrointestinal tract, but, Axelrod and others say, it is a “transformative” development in assessing and treating the millions of people doctors see each year for Irritable Bowel Disease (IBS) and myriad other GI-related ailments. Using data analysis principles similar to those of particle physics to build a comprehensive picture of what’s going on in the human gut simply “has never been done before,” he says.
Axelrod and his team have begun two-year clinical trials of the patch at Stanford University Hospital and El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, CA. The studies are in their early stages, but by the end, Axelrod expects to have collected many billions of data points on some 200 patients who have undergone major abdominal surgery.
In the trials, each patient wears three patches on the abdomen — recording signals from the stomach, small intestine and colon. The researchers are looking for measurable patterns in patients who develop an ileus — a temporary, uncomfortable, “paralysis” of the GI system that strikes anywhere from 5 to 50% of post-operative patients, depending on the surgery. “Post-op ileus is a common problem following abdominal surgery that can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and other problems in patients,” says Axelrod. “It extends their hospital stays and adds thousands of dollars of cost to their care, while increasing the risk of readmission.”
The trial will compare those results to patients who have a normal return of GI activity following surgery. The data — transmitted to a smart phone for collection and further transmitted to a cloud database — could enable a physician to predict who might develop ileus, and then administer the appropriate treatment.
Source: G-Tech Medical