Could neuroillumination be Clinatec’s new weapon against Parkinson’s disease?

Categorie(s) : Events, Innovation & Society, News, Research

Published : 4 June 2021

Exposing degenerating neurons to near infrared light could slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease. A preclinical trial of this approach in 2016 produced excellent results. The first patient in a new clinical trial was implanted with the neuron-illuminating device at Clinatec at the end of March.

Parkinson’s disease affects 6.5 million people worldwide. Although treatments—like the deep brain stimulation invented by Dr. Alim-Louis Benabid in the 1990s—can temporarily alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s, there is currently no way to slow the progression of the disease.

A four-year trial on a cohort of fourteen patients

Developed by Grenoble-Alpes University Medical Center with university labs, the CEA, and Boston Scientific, the treatment is creating new hope now that clinical trials have started.  Illuminating degenerating neurons with near infrared (NIR) light has long-lasting biological effects, slowing down the once-irreversible process, which, if left unchecked, leads to the progressive loss of motor function in the patient.

Grenoble-Alpes University Medical Center’s Dr. Stéphan Chabardès, who also runs the medical unit at Clinatec, implanted the neuro-illumination probe in a 55-year-old female patient on March 24. The patient will be monitored for four years. Hospitals in Lyon, Marseille, and Créteil are helping to recruit the additional thirteen patients needed for the trial.


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