$3 million grant for sleep apnoea t-shirt project

Calm sleep: A multi-million dollar grant will fund a project to develop personalised, more effective treatments for Obtrusive Sleep Apnoea. Photo: supplied

Calm sleep: A multi-million dollar grant will fund a project to develop personalised, more effective treatments for Obtrusive Sleep Apnoea. Photo: supplied

A multi-million dollar grant is on track to help sufferers of sleep apnoea.

Obtrusive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a condition that affects around nine per cent of the world’s adult population, according to research from the Australian Sleep Health Foundation. It poses serious health concerns with sufferers being more prone to depression, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

A research grant worth almost $3 million has been awarded to The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development (Western Sydney University), and colleagues to develop a non-obtrusive and personalised treatment option for people who suffer from sleep apnoea.

The grant was awarded under the federal government’s co-operative research centres projects program and contributes to a $10.7 million project budget.

A personalised treatment being developed utilises existing MARCS Institute technology designed by researchers from the Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience Program – Dr Gaetano Gargiulo and Dr Paul Breen.

This system - VitalCore - is an electrodeless, wearable device in the form a T-shirt that simultaneously monitors cardiac and respiratory function.

Dr Breen said the goal of the collaborative project was to develop a personalised treatment that was efficient, effective and much more comfortable to use.

“Noncompliance of sleep apnoea devices is a serious problem,” he said.

“At the moment there is no means of providing an ongoing optimization of treatment, and in addition, current devices are expensive and uncomfortable, so patients do not adhere to the therapy.”

Dr Gargiulo said using VitalCore as part of an integrated approach to the treatment of sleep apnoea was revolutionary as it allowed continued monitoring of cardiac and respiratory function, and used the recorded bio-data to optimise a patient’s treatment based on how their body responded.

“This project offers an incredible opportunity to translate one of our applied research techniques into a real world setting,” he said.

This project is being completed in collaboration with Oventus Medical, Medical Monitoring Solutions, CSIRO, Western Sydney University and Neuroscience Research Australia.

The project is due to begin in April and will run for three years, ending in March 2020.

Oventus Medical CEO, Neil Anderson, said he was proud to be the lead participant in this important project.

“We believe that there is a large global opportunity for easier, better and more personalised therapy for people with sleep apnoea,” he said.