Introduction of the project


What is Bio²Treat?

Diagram of the project flow is explained in the text. Copyright: © Copyright by Prof. Dr. Angelika Lampert

Bio²Treat is a joint project of the complementary partners from the medical faculty of RWTH Aachen and Grünenthal. The acronym Bio²Treat stands for: BIOmetric and BIOlogical data for diagnosis and TheRapiE in pain patients.

The aim of the project is to improve the diagnosis and therapy for patients with small fiber neuropathy – abbreviated SFN. This chronic pain disorder is mainly caused by nerve damage and is accompanied by severe pain and serious personal suffering. For example, the cause could be Diabetes mellitus or rheumatic diseases. SFN is difficult to diagnose because there are only a few objective methods of examination available. The individual course of the disease is difficult to predict, and the success of therapy varies widely.

This is where Bio²Treat strives to make a contribution to improving this problem with a cross-method approach. The goal of the project is to design and build a software with the help of the biometric data collected from the patient. The data will be integrated with the results of a biological analysis of the patient's own nerve cells, which should allow better therapy recommendations.


Course of the project

The joint project is divided into four sections, which will be carried out from 2019 to 2022.

In the first project phase, Bio²Watch, the biometric patient data is collected using the "Pain Watch", a smartphone / smartwatch combination from Grünenthal.

The smartwatch accesses data such as the following: number of steps per day, heart rate and external influences such as air pressure and patient reports on pain, stress and mood.

In the second part of the collaborative project, Bio²Patient, the biometric data is combined with clinically quantifiable examinations, such as quantitative sensory testing, evoked pain potentials for measuring the pain pathway from the skin to the brain, and results from pain questionnaires on the quality of life.

Thirdly, in the Bio²Cell section of the project, biological data is collected on the patient's own sensory nerve cells. For this purpose, induced pluripotent stem cells, so-called iPS cells, are produced from the patient's own cells. These enable the patient's nerve cells to be generated in the laboratory and examined for increased activity. Then, the biometric data of the individual patient will be used to simulate possible triggering factors from the patient's daily life in the laboratory.

In the fourth and final phase of the project, the Bio²Integrate software is intended to bring together the patient's biometric, cellular and clinical data. Furthermore, the aim is to create a self-learning software that can process new data, and finally enable therapy recommendations. The Bio²Integrate software will be an ideal screening tool with which, for the first time, a reliable diagnosis and successful therapy tailored to the individual patient may be possible. In addition, the Bio²Integrate software may enable a prognosis of the development and course of an SFN pain disorder. The current standard of care for SFN patients could be significantly improved with the help of the Bio²Integrate software.

  Diagram showing the course of the project Copyright: © Copyright by Prof. Dr. Angelika Lampert

Biometric patient data generated in the project part Bio²Watch is combined with clinical data. The patient's own stem cells are made from a blood samples and differentiated into neurons that provide biological data. All data are brought together in the Bio²Integrate software in order to be able to create diagnosis, prognosis and, in the future, therapy recommendations for the patient.