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The CEA, Grenoble Alpes University Hospital, Grenoble Alpes University and Boston Scientific Corporation, a leading company in medical devices, have started on the Near Infra Red (NIR) project clinical trial in March 2021. The project is based on a near-infrared technology, also called photobiomodulation, developed by CEA in collaboration with Boston Scientific. This technology could significantly reduce the progression of Parkinson's disease which affects more than 6.5 million people worldwide. Following excellent preclinical results obtained in 2016, this clinical trial aims to evaluate the approach and feasibility of this technology in Parkinson's disease patients. The first patient joined this trial and was successfully operated on March 24, 2021.
Deep-brain neurostimulation, a procedure designed and tested in Grenoble in particular by Professor Benabid and practiced for 34 years, has significantly reduced motor symptoms of 200,000 people with Parkinson's disease worldwide. Clinatec, the Edmond J. Safra Biomedical Research Center and a CEA laboratory based in Grenoble, is working on a complementary practice through the NIR project.
Traditional deep-brain stimulation delivers a high-frequency electrical current to modulate neural targets, which is pathologic in Parkinson's disease. In contrast, near-infrared illumination targets the substantia nigra, the site of the degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons that cause the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Unlike current therapies that temporarily limit symptoms without affecting the degeneration of neurons, light could potentially halt degeneration of these neurons. Thus, this therapeutic approach could slow down the loss of motor functions of patients and their autonomy.
Darlot, F., Moro, C., El Massri, N., Chabrol, C., Johnstone, D.M., Reinhart, F., Agay, D., Torres, N., Bekha, D., Auboiroux, V., Costecalde, T., Peoples, C.L., Anastascio, H.D.T., Shaw, V.E., Stone, J., Mitrofanis, J. and Benabid, A.‐L. (2016), Near‐infrared light is neuroprotective in a monkey model of Parkinson disease. Ann Neurol., 79: 59-75. https://doi.org/10.1002/ana.24542
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.