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The origin of CATCH

Brian will explain how the CATCH program has been formed.
Hi, my name is Brian Caulfield. I’m a professor of physiotherapy here in University College Dublin and I am principal investigator in the insight Centre for data analytics. What I’d like to speak to you about today is a European industrial doctorate program called CATCH which is short for cancer activating technologies for connected health And, let me first explain the story behind CATCH or the rationale for CATCH CATCH brings together eight talented PhD.students from from different parts of the world to work in Ireland Spain and Denmark. On…you know the the story of how we can bring technology to bear on some of the problems that are faced by people who have gone undergone treatment for cancer.
And if we if, we think about cancer, cancer is obviously in societal terms one of the, the major scourge is of the last 100 years. There’s not a person in this world who has not in some way through a family member or through a personal acquaintance has not been touched by cancer or even themselves and you know when I think back to my, kind of relationship with cancer, and when I was a young person listening to my parents speak about cancer. It was it was such a big thing and it was such, it was seen as a death sentence that people often, in this country, in particular didn’t even use the word “cancer.”
and I remember my mother and father used to when they were talking about somebody who had contracted some form of cancer They would not use the word, they would said say Oh so-and-so had got the Big C and so it was that’s how that’s how big an issue big a problem it was seem to be is that you couldn’t even say the word. So, thankfully, with advances in personalized medicine, surgical techniques, pharmacological therapy, we now have, you know, we have changed our relationship with cancer. And cancer in a lot of forms these days is seen as a very treatable disease.
We’re able to diagnose it a lot earlier we have really good screening programs to catch people earlier and to implement really really good advanced therapies that can completely cure a person of cancer in a lot of cases. So cancer and our relationship with it is undergoing a transition and it’s gone from being seeing as, you know, an almost fatal disease or a terminal illness to being something that can be viewed in a lot of cases as a chronic disease. And this is wonderful! This is absolutely wonderful.
but that this has created in itself a different type of issue that the healthcare system needs to address because now that we’re seeing a lot of people come through successful cancer treatment and coming to the other side we now have to consider how we reintegrate those people back into their normal daily lives.
So cancer rehabilitation has become a major area in healthcare because there’s so many patients who are coming through aggressive either surgical or chemotherapy or radiological therapies and there’s that, that had place, has an enormous toll on their bodies so when they come out the other side, they often have you know severe fatigue symptoms loss of body mass and and in particular loss of lean body mass and you know a condition known as cachexia where they have they have a muscle bed which is in a lot of respects very similar to sarcopenia when, were to, what you see in the aging population.
So, we’ve, as I said, we’ve started to see this cancer rehabilitation and growing and the popularity of it and the evidence base for cancer rehabilitation is growing ever ever stronger And I am a physiotherapist in what particularly interests me is exercise based physical rehabilitation and in that regard, we’ve faced a lot of challenges in trying to implement cardiovascular exercise or targeted strengthening and muscle reeducation exercise in patients with cancer. so
I as a physiotherapist I am particularly interested in exercise based physical rehabilitation to improve the physical functioning of the patient but equally important is is the the mental health of the patient so we need we need really good comprehensive cancer rehabilitation programs. As I’ve said in the last 10 to 15 years we’re seeing an enormous evidence base emerging which is showing that you know active particularly exercise based cancer rehabilitation programs for patients who have come through aggressive cancer treatments are working extraordinarily well and we can consider them as being successful on a couple of different levels One, successful on the level of maximizing people’s function potential and bringing people back to the lives they want to live but secondly there is, there’s emerging evidence of a secondary protective effect in terms of reducing recurrence rates of cancer and inpatients which is a fantastic and fantastic outcome.
But and there’s a big but implementing physical rehabilitation in a patient who is severely deconditioned prone prone to extreme fatigue and at the mere thought of exercise and also is dealing with the psychological and the mental consequences of having come through a very very and significant illness and a very difficult treatment process. It’s very very difficult. So that’s why, we have put CATCH in place because in CATCH we are trying to understand how the various technology developments that we have seen in sensor technology and actuator technology over the last number of years can be brought to bear on the rehabilitation journey for the cancer patient or the cancer survivor.
Now, just looking at the technologies I should say CATCH is an inter truly interdisciplinary project We are bringing together people from different scientific backgrounds and from different sexual backgrounds we have people coming from industry from academia and from clinical backgrounds to try and understand how we can advance the use of these technologies and we can develop specific technologies for cancer patients but when we bring technology to bear on an unmet clinical need The first thing we need to do is we need to understand that unmet clinical need we need to understand the journey of the person at the center of it the journey of the patient, understand the the life patterns and the challenges and the barriers that are facing that patient at the center of the process So for that reason catch starts with three PhDs who are looking primarily at the problems faced by the cancer patient and the journeys followed by the cancer patient.
So we have three PhDs projects that are looking at understanding the problem. We then have a further three PhD students who are looking at specific aspects of technology intervention in cancer rehabilitation. so we have one who is looking at largely cardiovascular based exercise implementation. that is leveraging gamification and technology We have another who is looking at implementation of cardiovascular and strengthening exercise using electrical neuromuscular electrical stimulation platforms. And we have another who is looking at the use of sensor technology and mobile platforms providing real-time feedback and guidance for patients who are doing targeted muscle strengthening exercises. so we have these three different you know technology interventions that we are trying to advance.
And then, beyond that we have a further two PhDs who are looking at the transition of these technologiesinto the marketplace understanding how if we do go from fully understanding the patient to developing a technology that meets their need. Now how do we make that a sustainable solution that has traction in the marketplace and and can actually benefit the lives of patients rather than being an interesting academic project. So as I said we have some really excellent partners in this project we have…
Salumedia, a software company from Spain and specializes in gamification technologies we have SDU in Denmark who are an excellent academic Business School we have Oncoavanze in Spain and Beacon(Beacon Hospiatal Academy) in Ireland who are two excellent clinical facilities that have cancer therapy programs And cancer rehabilitation programs and we have ourselves in University College Dublin who are coordinating the project and hosting and itself the PhD’s.
So that’s the catch program and you are going to hear from the individual researchers really hope you enjoy listening to them speak about their specific projects and the challenges they’re taking on and what I hope you kind of got from this few minutes of me speaking is number one recognizing that transition in our relationship with cancer from terminal illness to, to chronic disease also recognizing that there are new unmet clinical needs and being brought about by by our success in treating cancer and that means that we need to drive a very very effective rehabilitation programs and technology can potentially and ease the pathway through that rehabilitation journey for patients and then CATCH we’re trying to understand how we can we can really integrate technology into that journey.
thank you

In this video, Prof. Brian introduces how the CATCH programme is built and the rationale behind it.

Prof. Brian is Dean of Physiotherapy at UCD, Director of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics and lead Principal Investigator with Ireland’s Connected Health Technology Centre, ARCH. He is the primary coordinator of the CATCH programme and leads two work packages – Technology Interventions and Management. He is the main academic supervisor for three of the ESRs.​

Prof. Brian’s early research career focussed on laboratory-based evaluation of human performance in health and sport, with a particular emphasis on understanding the neurophysiological contributions to repeated musculoskeletal injuries in sport. He has shifted his research focus from laboratory-based analysis towards the field, home and community where contextual relevance is significantly enhanced. This move has been enabled through development of cross cutting collaborations with researchers in Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering across the globe, with a view to explore potential for development and validation of wearable and mobile sensing measurement/intervention applications that open up a new vista for human performance evaluation and enhancement across the spectrum from elite sport to chronic disease and ageing.

Guest Educator:

Brian Caulfield

Next, we will introduce several current research topics of the CATCH programme.

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Digital Health for Cancer Management: Smart Health Technologies in Complex Diseases

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