The NIR Project

The NIR (Near Infra Red) project aims to design a neuro-protective system for patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is a chronic neurological disease which affects nearly 6.5 million people worldwide. Current treatments for Parkinson’s disease help ease the symptoms, but neither cure nor slow down progression of the disease. Deep brain stimulation is basically used to treat symptoms at an advanced stage of the disease. As a result, neuro-protection in Parkinson’s disease is a key avenue of interest in research, with a view to preventing or slowing down degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons.

The literature illustrates the neuro-protective effect of stimulation using near-infrared light on cell and animal models. In particular, we have demonstrated that near-infrared light improves motor performance and preserves the dopaminergic neurons in the Parkinsonian animals treated, compared to the control animals.

The overall objective of the Near Infra Red (NIR) project is to develop a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease, thanks to a chronic intracerebral implant that provides near-infrared light with neuro-protective effects. Given that it is difficult to diagnose Parkinson’s at an early stage, this new surgical strategy is designed to present very low risks, since it is targeted at patients who have little or no motor problems. Drawing on our previous and current developments, we have been able to develop implants which prefigure the chronic medical device for humans, and we are currently conducting preclinical tests to obtain accreditation for a clinical trial on humans.



Neuroprotective Surgical Strategies in Parkinson’s Disease: Role of Preclinical Data. Torres N, Molet J, Moro CMitrofanis J, Benabid AL.
Int J Mol Sci. 2017, 18(10): 2190. Abstract

No evidence for toxicity after long-term photobiomodulation in normal non-human primates. Moro C, Torres N, Arvanitakis K, Cullen K, Chabrol C, Agay D, Darlot F, Benabid AL, Mitrofanis
J. Exp Brain Res. 235(10): 3081-3092. Abstract

Photobiomodulation-induced changes in a monkey model of Parkinson’s disease: changes in tyrosine hydroxylase cells and GDNF expression in the striatum. El Massri N, Lemgruber AP, Rowe IJ, Moro C, Torres N, Reinhart F, Chabrol C, Benabid AL, Mitrofanis
J. Exp Brain Res. 2017, 235(6): 1861-1874. Abstract

The behavioural and neuroprotective outcomes when 670nm and 810nm near infrared light are applied together in MPTP-treated mice. Reinhart F, Massri NE, Torres N, Chabrol C, Molet J, Johnstone DM, Stone J, Benabid AL, Mitrofanis J, Moro C.
Neurosci Res. 2017, 117: 42-47. Abstract

Near-infrared light treatment reduces astrogliosis in MPTP-treated monkeys. El Massri N, Moro C, Torres N, Darlot F, Agay D, Chabrol C, Johnstone DM, Stone J, Benabid AL, Mitrofanis J.
Exp Brain Res. 2016, 234(11):3225-3232. Abstract

Effects of a higher dose of near-infrared light on clinical signs and neuroprotection in a monkey model of Parkinson’s disease. Moro C, El Massri N, Darlot F, Torres N, Chabrol C, Agay D, Auboiroux V, Johnstone DM, Stone J, Mitrofanis J, Benabid AL.
Brain Res. 2016, 1648(Pt A):19-26. Abstract

Near-infrared light (670 nm) reduces MPTP-induced parkinsonism within a broad therapeutic time window. Reinhart F, El Massri N, Johnstone DM, Stone J, Mitrofanis J, Benabid AL, Moro C.
Exp Brain Res. 2016, 234(7):1787-94. Abstract

Turning On Lights to Stop Neurodegeneration: The Potential of Near Infrared Light Therapy in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Johnstone DM, Moro C, Stone J, Benabid AL, Mitrofanis J.
Front Neurosci. 2016, 9:500. Abstract

Intracranial application of near-infrared light in a hemi-parkinsonian rat model: the impact on behavior and cell survival. Reinhart F, Massri NE, Chabrol C, Cretallaz C, Johnstone DM, Torres N, Darlot F, Costecalde T, Stone J, Mitrofanis J, Benabid AL, Moro C.
J Neurosurg. 2016;124(6):1829-41. Abstract

The effect of different doses of near infrared light on dopaminergic cell survival and gliosis in MPTP-treated mice. El Massri N, Johnstone DM, Peoples CL, Moro C, Reinhart F, Torres N, et al.
Int J Neurosci. 2016;126(1):76–87. Abstract

Near-infrared light is neuroprotective in a monkey model of Parkinson’s disease
Darlot F, Moro C, El Massri N, Chabrol C, Johnstone DM, Reinhart F, Agay D, Torres N, Bekha D, Auboiroux V, Costecalde T, Peoples CL, Anastascio HD, Shaw VE, Stone J, Mitrofanis J, Benabid AL.
Ann Neurol. 2016; 79:59-75. Abstract

810nm near-infrared light offers neuroprotection and improves locomotor activity in MPTP-treated mice
Reinhart F, Massri NE, Darlot F, Torres N, Johnstone DM, Chabrol C, Costecalde T, Stone J, Mitrofanis J, Benabid AL, Moro C.
Neurosci Res. 2015; 92:86-90. Abstract

Photobiomodulation inside the brain: a novel method of applying near-infrared light intracranially and its impact on dopaminergic cell survival in MPTP-treated mice
Moro C, Massri NE, Torres N, Ratel D, De Jaeger X, Chabrol C, Perraut F, Bourgerette A, Berger M, Purushothuman S, Johnstone D, Stone J, Mitrofanis J, Benabid AL.
J Neurosurg. 2014;120 (3):670-83. Abstract

Photobiomodulation preserves behaviour and midbrain dopaminergic cells from MPTP toxicity: evidence from two mouse strains
Moro C, Torres N, El Massri N, Ratel D, Johnstone DM, Stone J, Mitrofanis J, Benabid AL.
BMC Neurosci. 2013; 14 :40 Abstract

The potential of light therapy in Parkinson’s disease. Krisitna Coleman, Daniel M Johnstone, Cecile Moro, Napoleon Torres, Janis Eells, Gary E Baker, Keyoumars Ashkan, Jonathan Stone, Alim-Louis Benabid, John Mitrofanis.
Chronophysiology and therapy, dec.2013