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Clinatec raises €10m for research in neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and motor disabilities

Clinatec, the biomedical research center focused on applying micro- and nanotechnology innovations to health care, announced it has raised €10m to support research in diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and motor disabilities

The Edmond J. Safra Foundation launched the campaign in October 2015, pledging to match up to €5 million in donations.

“I never doubted that this matching fundraising campaign would be a success,” said Ms. Lily Safra, president of the foundation. “Prof. Alim Louis Benabid and Clinatec’s teams are working on breakthrough projects and carrying so much hope! Created five years ago, Clinatec already has earned its place among the best medical innovative research centers.”

“The great support we have received from the Edmond J. Safra Foundation and Lily Safra increases our engagement to go faster and further," said Prof. Benabid, Clinatec’s CEO.

At Clinatec, 2016 was marked by a consolidation phase that will allow important clinical developments in 2017:

The Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) project is intended to give mobility to people affected with quadriplegia. An implant captures electrical signals from the brain, while an embedded computer decodes and transcribes the information to an exoskeleton.

The first patient received an implant, analysis of the treatment is underway. A second patient is expected to receive an implant in 2017 to further demonstrate the feasibility of a BCI and exoskeleton providing freedom of movement.

The Near InfraRed (NIR) project is intended to evaluate the neuroprotective effect of Near Infra Red light using an intracranial medical device delivering therapeutic light. When applied to the precise spot in the brain where PD and other diseases cause irreversible damage, near-infrared illumination can slow down the disease progression.

The first experimental work were developed at Clinatec and preclinical results were published in a prestigious scientific review (Annals of neurology). A clinical trial to confirm these positive results will be launched in 2017, a first step towards the cure for Parkinson's disease.

The Epicool project, recently launched by Clinatec, aims to develop a cooling system implanted in the brain to block seizures, as applying cold is known to reversibly block neuron activity. Experimental work and technological development will start in 2017. A clinical trial is planned in 2020-22.

Clinatec is a partner in a clinical trial, Equoloc project, for patients affected by obsessive-compulsive (OCD) drug-resistant disorders, and who are treated with deep brain stimulation. Access to Clinatec and using its unique imaging tools (including MEG) will enable the team to study potential brain dysfunctions that may affect some OCD patients. A European trial has already started, bringing together psychiatrists and neurosurgeons in Grenoble.