The chances of suffering from one of the two most frequent neurodegenerative diseases, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, increase considerably after age 65. However, young adults can also be affected and the onset of Parkinson’s disease occurs before age 50 in approximately 10% of cases*.
* Source: France Parkinson, 2013.
Deep brain stimulation has radically changed the everyday life of 100,000 Parkinson’s patients worldwide. This surgical intervention, co-designed and tested in Grenoble by Professor Alim-Louis Benabid, founder of Clinatec, has enabled a spectacular reduction of symptoms. With 25 years of experience in deep-brain stimulation, Clinatec now wishes to progress further and explore the neuroprotective properties of infrared light. When applied to the precise spot in the brain where the diseases causes irreversible damage, near-infrared radiation (NIR) could protect this highly sensitive organ. By protecting the neurons, this process could avoid the gradual degradation of the patient’s faculties and the major disabilities that follow.
Being affected when young and in full swing is far from uncommon
I was diagnosed eighteen years ago, when I was 42. Without neurostimulation, I would probably have become totally dependent whereas I am now capable of cycling 150 km at a stretch. Being affected when young and in full swing is far from uncommon. It is difficult to pursue one’s career when one needs to take tablets every two hours.
Neurostimulation was the right solution for me. Operated on in April 2001, I was fully operational and able to get back to work by September. If its effects are demonstrated in Man, NIR therapy could represent a considerable step forwards from neurostimulation, which remains just a palliative. If I were to be operated on in Grenoble tomorrow, I would certainly be quite light-hearted about it.
A challenge for Clinatec?
Design a neuroprotective system applicable to the many neurodegenerative diseases for which no effective treatment exists as yet. This requires further research on the best ways of using NIR on the human brain. The potential has been scientifically demonstrated and an intracranial NIR system is currently under development. Clinical trials including human beings are currently suspended, pending funds to the amount of €1.7 million. Help us find the funds required to change the everyday life of Parkinson’s’ patients and set new standards for an innovative cure of neurodegenerative diseases. Our main ambition? Save lives!