The commercialization of new point of care technologies holds great potential in facilitating and advancing precision medicine in heart, lung, blood, and sleep (HLBS) disorders. The delivery of individually tailored health care to a patient depends on how well that patient’s health condition can be interrogated and monitored. Point of care technologies may enable access to rapid and cost-effective interrogation of a patient’s health condition in near real time. Currently, physiological data are largely limited to single-time-point collection at the hospital or clinic, whereas critical information on some conditions must be collected in the home, when symptoms occur, or at regular intervals over time. A variety of HLBS disorders are highly dependent on transient variables, such as patient activity level, environment, time of day, and so on. Consequently, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute sponsored a request for applications to support the development and commercialization of novel point-of-care technologies through small businesses (RFA-HL-14-011 and RFA-HL-14-017). Three of the supported research projects are described to highlight particular point-of-care needs for HLBS disorders and the breadth of emerging technologies. While significant obstacles remain to the commercialization of such technologies, these advancements will be required to achieve precision medicine.
Clinical Editor, Steven Schachter, MD
Point-of-care technologies will form the cornerstone for further progress and implementation of precision medicine. Such technologies are especially important for clinical situations where rapid turn-around time for test results improves patient care compared to standard lab methods or when frequent monitoring is not otherwise feasible.
Federal funding agencies are stepping up their efforts to support development of point-of-care technologies as solutions for unmet medical needs. Bigelow et al. describe an initiative from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to utilize the SBIR/STTR mechanisms for spurring commercial efforts at small businesses to innovate point-of-care devices that improve outcomes for cardiac, pulmonary, hematologic, and sleep disorders. They provide detail for three supported projects that vary in underlying technology but share the potential for improved patient outcomes by advancing precision medicine at the point of care. This initiative is complementary to NHLBI’s ongoing support for academic-based innovation with possible commercial application through the NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovations, which hopefully will be increasingly supported over time by other NIH Institutes and Centers.