$12 million in competitive research funds are being combined with a further $8 million from the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge to tackle the opioid crisis.
The money will be used to fund tech project ideas from universities and pharmaceutical software developers.
According to a press release published in Guelph Today, so far ideas include remote controlled medication dispensers, monitoring devices for addicts, mobile apps and pain-relieving massage gloves.
Tactus Therapeutics Inc., for example, is seeking $2.2 million to develop an improved tamper-resistant opioid so dose quantities and intervals could not be abused.
Though other researchers have suggested moving away from pills altogether to find new ways to fight pain. However, some of the ideas sound like they might struggle to relieve long-term chronic pain in the same way as opioids do.
These include therapeutic mesh soaked in non-opioid pain medication which is implanted after surgery and lasts for 96-hours; research into apparatus which uses head to combat heat and muscle pain; and virtual reality which could be used to “outwit” pain. Or a massage therapy Glove.
According to the press release, the technology does not have to focus on a particular type of pain or patient group, leaving open the possibility for researchers to venture wherever they see fit. Advances made by such research could then be transferred to other areas of pain alleviation methods.
Ideas include apps which allow patients to record medications, pain levels and state of mind, while a sensor would be gathering health indicators, including respiration, heart rate, eye tracking and pupil dilation, and sending them to a central location. Other alternatives are the suggestion of remotely controlled medications dispensers.
Cleveland-based NineSigma inc. will manage the competition, who’ve managed competitions at federal level for NASA and Homeland Security.
Though ideas may seem slow it’s funding and open competition which may help to fuel progress of some sort, and contribute to tackling the wider problem.