Cork firm’s technology to shine a light on patients

Cork firm’s technology to shine a light on patients

Antoine Lemaire of IPIC (Irish Photonic Integration Centre), hosted at Tyndall National Institute, sheds light on new treatment for neurological disorders.

IPIC (Irish Photonic Integration Centre), based at the Tyndall National Institute, has developed cutting-edge light technology for Belgium-based Synergia Medical, which seeks to benefit patients suffering from chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, drug-resistant epilepsy, sleep apnoea and depression.

Synergia Medical is developing next generation medical devices for neural that will take light (photonics) deep into the body of patients to carry the energy needed to treat neurological disorders and improve their quality of life, and IPIC is a European leader in photonics.

Neural stimulation endeavours to control the nervous system’s activity through artificial means.

Typically, a pacemaker-like device is implanted below the skin and electrodes are placed around the target nerve tissue. Controlled electrical pulses are delivered to the nerve tissue to manage neurological conditions.

IPIC has developed a first of kind technology with Synergia Medical to replace the metal cables running from the battery to the stimulator, by using light to deliver the power creating an innovative and versatile neural stimulation technology platform.

This pioneering use of photonics to deliver power reduces the multiple constraints classically linked to patient monitoring during MRI exams, allowing enhanced imaging procedures essential for the treatment and follow-up of the disease. This use of light will ultimately pave the way to new personalised therapies.

The technology development cycle to date has included the development of first generation prototypes at Tyndall’s semiconductor fabrication facilities, and has just been licensed to Synergia who is progressing towards future clinical trials.

Commenting, Brian Corbett from Tyndall’s IPIC said: “The development of this ground-breaking technology at IPIC again positions Ireland as a centre for research excellence in the field of optical powering for medical devices.

“The science behind the technology is an optical ‘power lead’ utilising an efficient miniaturised photovoltaic cell subsystem that enables light to be transmitted from a neurostimulator embedded in the body to an electrode, where it converts the light to electricity that then powers the electrode. This replaces metal cables and thereby makes the system MRI compatible.”

Pascal Doguet, co-founder and CTO of Synergia Medical, said: “Ireland through Tyndall’s IPIC is currently leading in the area of photonics, the science and application of light to technology, so they were the natural choice to partner with to help develop our latest technology.

“We have also recruited one of their post-doctorate researchers to continue the development of the technology with us in Belgium.”

Neurostimulation therapy is a market estimated to be worth in excess of $4.99 billion*.

IPIC and Tyndall partner with more than 200 companies (MNCs and SMEs) from across Ireland and internationally who are looking to avail of such deep-tech research expertise and their state-of-the-art facilities.

This engagement with industry enables the national research institute to commercialise the results of their research taking it from lab into society.

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