Posts Tagged CORDIS

[WEB SITE] Towards enhanced regenerative medicine to cure epilepsy – CORDIS

August 21, 2018, CORDIS
Towards enhanced regenerative medicine to cure epilepsy

Credit: Gabriella Panuccio

At the border between regenerative medicine and neural engineering lies enhanced regenerative medicine. Using brain tissue modulated by electronic components, EU research has tackled the most common form of epilepsy.

Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common form of epilepsy and yet, the most unresponsive to treatment. Patients have a typical pattern of progressive  damage that affects cognitive and emotional processes.

The H2020 EU project Re.B.Us worked to lay the foundation of biohybrid approaches to induce self-healing of the dysfunctional brain. As the fellow, Dr. Gabriella Panuccio, explains, “Our goal was to achieve the proof-of-concept that the diseased brain can be healed by means of a biohybrid approach, which merges tools from biology and engineering.”

Patterns of electrical activity in TLE

Researchers used an in vitro model of TLE – rodent brain slices including key-player brain areas in TLE, treated pharmacologically to induce the typical  patterns seen in TLE patients.

Microelectrode array electrophysiology and engineering tools were combined to modulate these patterns. A physiological dialogue between affected brain regions was re-established via electronic bridges. “At the core of the experimental design was the signal generated by the hippocampus, which can prevent seizures initiated by the cortex but is compromised in TLE,” Dr. Panuccio points out.

Dialogue restoration between cortex and hippocampus

The researchers were able to rectify cortical seizure-propensity by first replacing the missing hippocampal brain signal with a surrogate electrical stimulation pattern that mimics the temporal dynamics of hippocampal activity.

Subsequently, they used a unidirectional electronic bridge to re-establish the functional dialogue between hippocampus and cortex. Ultimately, a hippocampal slice was used as ‘graft’ tissue to replace the hippocampus of the ‘host’ cortex slice to control seizure activity in the latter. “This represents the ultimate goal of Re.B.Us and these pioneering experiments herald the feasibility of the biohybrid approach proposed by Re.B.Us,” stresses Dr. Panuccio.

Ingenious electrical modulation

In its ultimate piece of work, Re.B.Us researchers established a bidirectional electronic bridge between two distinct brain slices, one acting as the ‘healthy’ graft hippocampus and the other acting as the ‘diseased’ host cortex. Pathological events detected in the cortex triggered electrical stimulation of the hippocampus; which in turn, caused detection of activity in the  and  onto the cortex. The developed control software was carefully refined to achieve the optimal stimulation policy to reciprocally engage the graft and host tissues to significantly decrease seizure activity.

Into the realms of the unknown – neuromorphic engineering and AI

Following the simplified in vitro paradigm of Re.B.Us, the next logical step is using hippocampal organoids as graft tissue in epileptic rodents in vivo. Dr. Panuccio explains, “Hippocampal organoids are bioengineered replicas of hippocampal tissue that can be generated in vitro starting from stem cells. Very little is known about their electrical activity, since they have only recently been obtained with tissue engineering techniques, but they appear to be intrinsically endowed with the ability to generate the pattern that can suppress seizures.”

Future strategies to cure epilepsy could rely on the joint exploitation of neural transplants with neuromorphic engineering and artificial intelligence (AI). Neuromorphic engineering could be an unprecedented solution for the design of biomimetic brain prostheses, which behave similarly to the brain and learn how to operate to promote healthy graft-host integration. AI would optimise in real-time the function of neuromorphic electronics to prevent the graft entrainment and damage from pathological activity of the host brain. “The leading view is that neuromorphic electronics and AI algorithms would eventually deactivate upon successful recovery of brain function, when their intervention would no longer be necessary,” Dr. Panuccio points out.

Summing up Re.B.Us’ achievements, Dr. Panuccio states, “I think that Re.B.Us represents the starting point of a novel approach to brain repair, based on the joint exploitation of  and neural engineering; a biohybrid exploitation strategy that will possibly overturn the way we approach brain disorders, shifting the current paradigm from treating the diseased brain to healing it.”

 Explore further: Automated detection of focal epileptic seizures in a sentinel area of the human brain

 

via Towards enhanced regenerative medicine to cure epilepsy

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[WEB SITE] Symbitron | Symbiotic man-machine interaction in wearable exoskeletons to enhance mobility for paraplegics – CORDIS Project

Welcome to the Symbitron project website! Our main goals are:

  • To develop a safe, bio-inspired, personalized wearable exoskeleton that enables SCI patients to walk without additional assistance, by complementing their remaining motor function
  • To develop training environments and training protocols for SCI patients and their clinicians
  • To provide clinical proof of concept for safety and functionality of the system

WE2_S01720p

Video of one of the test pilots with a complete spinal cord injury, walking in WE2 (ankle, knee and hip actuation)


General information

Symbitron – Symbiotic man-machine interactions in wearable exoskeletons to enhance mobility for paraplegics

Project Coordination: University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

Project Coordinator: Herman van der Kooij (University of Twente)

Project Partners: see Consortium

E-mail: info at symbitron dot eu

Funding: European Union, Seventh Framework Programme

                 FP7-ICT-2013-10, ID 661626

Start date: October 1st, 2013

Duration: 48 months

EU funding: 3.099.898

Tree-Clouds-4cm-4cm-300dpi-RVBThe Symbitron project is part of the “Future and Emerging Technologies (FET)” programme of the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/future-emerging-technologies-fet.

Objectives

A)  To develop an integrated neuromuscular model that describes the physiology of healthy versus impaired human gait (WP2)

B)  To design and manufacture personalised modular exoskeletons that compensate for SCI impairments (WP3)

C)  To develop personalised human inspired neuro-muscular controllers for the wearable exoskeletons (WP4)

D)  To optimise the design & control, and bi-directional symbiotic man-machine interaction of wearable exoskeletons (WP5)

E)  To determine the safety and functionality of the personalised SYMBITRON wearable exoskeletons in a clinical study (WP6)

F) To disseminate key findings to relevant stakeholders and to secure IP protection and exploitation of valuable innovatins (WP7)

Symbitron objectivesVisit Site —>  Symbitron | Symbiotic man-machine interaction

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[CORDIS] European stem cell consortium for neural cell replacement, reprogramming and functional brain repair – Projects and Results

From 2013-10-01 to 2017-09-30, closed project

Project details

Total cost: EUR 8 186 684,46

EU contribution: EUR 6 000 000

Coordinated in: Italy

Call for proposal:

FP7-HEALTH-2013-INNOVATION-1See other projects for this call

Funding scheme:

CP-FP – Small or medium-scale focused research project

via European Commission : CORDIS : Projects and Results : European stem cell consortium for neural cell replacement, reprogramming and functional brain repair

Objective

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[European Commission] Predicting and treating epilepsy – CORDIS

Predicting and treating epilepsy

Epilepsy is a devastating condition affecting over 50 million people worldwide. An EU consortium is using a combinatorial approach to identify biomarkers and develop antiepileptogenic therapeutics.
Predicting and treating epilepsy

A five-year EU-funded project, EPITARGET (Targets and biomarkers for antiepileptogenesis), is studying the processes leading to epilepsy in adults. The consortium, consisting of 18 partners from 9 countries, aims to identify novel biomarkers and their combinations in clinically relevant animal models. These biomarkers, defining the different stages of epilepsy, will be used to predict/diagnose early and late stages of the evolution of the disease.

After the first year the project advanced significantly towards its objectives. Sample collection from various animal models of epileptogenesis is ongoing. The project developed a biocompatible electrode for fast and sensitive glucose measurement in the brain.

EPITARGET characterised expression patterns of a number of molecules at various time points after epileptogenic insults. They include lipid mediators and their receptors, microRNAs, immunoproteasomes, free radicals and antioxidants, amyloidogenic factors, inflammatory molecules, extracellular matrix proteins and synaptic proteins.

The consortium members are investigating complex mechanisms of epileptogenesis with the goal to design disease-modifying combinatorial treatment strategies, targeted to the different stages. EPITARGET optimised the two-stage approach for drug screening and explored pharmacokinetics and tolerability of combinations of clinically available drugs in naive and epileptic rodents. For targeting compounds to the brain, EPITARGET developed a lipid encapsulation approach. The first formulation of amiloride is undergoing in vitro and in vivo testing. The first generation of long-term transgene expression viral vectors was already verified in vivo.

EPITARGET findings using animal models will be translated into clinical use by validating biomarkers in human blood and brain tissue samples. Ongoing sample collection includes human brain tissue and biofluids from status epilepticus, traumatic brain injury and pharmacoresistant epilepsy patients. The creation of animal and human databases is under way. The first year of the project resulted in 20 peer-reviewed publications.

Upon completion, EPITARGET is expected to improve diagnosis of epilepsy, and to develop new antiepileptogenic treatments and means to predict their efficacy. It will improve the quality of life for millions of people and reduce treatment costs.

Source: European Commission : CORDIS : Projects and Results : Predicting and treating epilepsy

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[Final Report Summary] REHAB@HOME (Engaging Game-based Home Rehabilitation for Improved Quality of Life) – European Commission : CORDIS : Projects & Results Service  

Executive Summary:

The project was focussing on solutions for patients after a stroke to supply them with a sustainable progress in rehabilitation. The research refers to the upper part of the body, especially the movement of the arms, the grip and the wrists. As medical and technical partners are involved in this project as well as patients, an ongoing rehabilitation process can be evaluated in depth. The project’s aim was to design and develop an open- solution IT-device (concept, hardware/software) that allows the patient to exercise at home to reduce his disabilities. The device offers features and functionalities as a set of exercises based on personalised serious games adapted to the patient’s needs. The challenge on the one side was to develop games which are motivating for the patient and allow him to improve at the same time. The plan is to have the first training with the device during the patient’s stay at the hospital, enabling him to continue his training at home. The games used for a patient are selected individually by the physician and are calibrated to the patient’s needs and abilities, ensuring and optimum degree of exercise.. The player collects rewards as a real-time feedback during his training. As a socialisation component, the patient can also compete with friends or family members.

During the training with this user-friendly IT-device, information about the quality of the performance is provided to the medical personnel. The physical and medical parameters are monitored and evaluated by an on-line/off-line management at the medical centre. The rehabilitation protocol provides a good overview of the patient’s progress to the medical personnel and allows the challenges of the games to be adjusted to the patient’s condition.
The device consists of commercial products like Microsoft KinectTM and using Web2.0 social networks. In this way an effective, efficient and attractive virtual environment for a successful rehabilitation can be built at the patient’s home. Because of the individual handicaps of the game’s users, the challenge was to optimise the games in such way that the training is sufficient for the patient and has enough stimulation to keep the patient exercising. The components themselves are low-cost, robust, good to handle and easy to use. Also, the therapeutic data, physical as well as physiological, are collected via the sensors, and are evaluated with the software developed during the project In this way the medical care can be online as well as off-line. The result of this new kind of service model proposed by Rehab@Home targeting the new technology, coupled with training, demonstration and dissemination will be the integration in the existing public healthcare service.Project Context and Objectives:
In 1997 the number of over-65 year olds constituted 6.6%of the world’s population, and this is predicted to increase to 10% by 2025. It is expected that this will lead to a rise in demand for long-term residential care. Common elderly diseases and ailmentsinclude one or more of the following: arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular (e.g. blood pressure and heart disease), cerebrovascular (e.g. strokes), dementia, depression, diabetes, falls and injuries, gastrointestinal disorders, hearing impairment, memory, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, respiratory disease, pressure ulcers, sleep problems, thyroid disease, urinary disorders and visual impairment. In many cases, considerable health gain, both from the physical and cognitive perspectives, can be achieved by successful rehabilitation, which is concerned with lessening the impact of specific disabling conditions.
Considering that the aforementioned set of diseases is very broad, to the Rehab@Home project focussed more on one specific indication, stroke. Stroke is the 2nd most common cause of death in Europe (1.24 million annual) and in the European Union (508,000 annual) and the 3rd cause of death in Canada (14,000 annual) and the United States (over 143,000 people each year). Meanwhile, 1.8% of Asians aged 18 years and older have had a stroke. In general, according to the World Health Organization, about 15 million people suffer from stroke worldwide each year. Of these, 5 million die, 10 million survive, though showing different degrees of disabilities. Accordingly, the costs of stroke are enormous. In Europe and the USA, 2-6% of all health care costs are spent on direct stroke care, including the costs of hospital and nursing home care, the services of physicians and other medical professionals, drugs, appliances, and rehabilitation. (Evers S, et. al., “International Comparison of Stroke Cost Studies,” Stroke 35:1209-15, 2004.) Indirect costs, defined as production losses, further increase the burden of the disease. In Europe, direct costs are in the range of 3.000-16.000 Euros per patient during the first year, whereas the lifetime direct cost may reach 30.000 Euros. Taken together, direct and indirect costs may be as high as 20.000-26.000 Euros per patient in the first year. In Europe, 22 billion Euros are spent on stroke annually (Truelsen T, et al., “Cost of stroke in Europe,” Eur. J. Neuro. 12, Suppl 1:78-84, 2005).
Stroke affects everybody differently, and it is difficult to say how much of a recovery is possible. Many stroke survivors experience the most dramatic recovery during their stay in hospital in the weeks after their stroke. But many stroke survivors continue to improve over a longer time, sometimes over a number of years. The goal of rehabilitation is to help survivors become as independent as possible and to attain the best possible quality of life. Rehabilitation does not “cure” stroke in that it does not reverse brain damage. High quality rehabilitation however is essential to regain many – if not all – of their capabilities.
The first stage of rehabilitation usually occurs within an acute-care hospital, as soon as the patient is stable and the (initially high) risk of recurrence is lower. 10% of the survivors can return home quickly, many need to be treated in some type of medical facility. For over half of the of stroke survivors, rehabilitation will be a long-term process requiring work with therapists and specialized equipment for months or (ideally) years after the stroke.
However, increasing cost pressure on the health system will lead to shorter periods of intensive rehabilitation at specialized facilities. Within this context the adoption of suitable technical aids at home, together with a proper training program, can help reducing the patient’s stay at the hospital as well as the need for moving him/her between home and a physiotherapy unit or a paramedical structure.
Rehabilitation, which may be effective in improving the physical and mental condition of older people in long-term care, is a complex set of procedures usually involving several professional disciplines and aimed at improving the quality of life of older people facing daily living difficulties caused by either temporary and/or chronic diseases. Comprehensive rehabilitation needs to address a number of different levels which may be contributing to loss of function: the damaged body part and other related body elements, psychological attitudes, immediate material environment (e.g. clothing items), the surrounding indoor environment (e.g. housing/equipment), external environment (e.g. shops, social outlets), social support networks.
In the specific case of stroke, rehabilitation is based on Neuroplasticity (also known as cortical re-mapping), which is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections, allowing nerve cells in the brain to compensate for defects. However, neuroplasticity is only happening when there is ‘right’ stimulus and sustainable motivation, which are the key factors of successful rehabilitation. Rehabilitation teaches new ways of performing tasks to circumvent or compensate for any residual disabilities. There is a strong consensus among rehabilitation experts that the most important element in any rehabilitation program is carefully directed, well-focused, repetitive practice – the same kind of practice used by all people when they learn any new skill, such as playing guitar or skating.

Continue —> European Commission : CORDIS : Projects & Results Service : Final Report Summary – REHAB@HOME (Engaging Game-based Home Rehabilitation for Improved Quality of Life)

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