Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, affect an increasing number of people, especially in developed countries, where life expectancy is constantly increasing. There are tens of millions of patients worldwide suffering from this disease. Unfortunately modern medicine does not offer an effective method of causal treatment. Current methods focus on reducing symptoms and slowing down the development of the disease. Pharmacological treatment is most commonly used for this purpose. Currently developing research direction is the use of neurostimulation techniques. The technique of stimulation of the vagus nerve has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy, depression and migraine pain. Current technical solutions in this field include mainly invasive methods, i.e. devices implanted in the patient. Such surgical intervention, especially implantation of a stimulation electrode, carries the risk of undesirable side effects.
The VGuard system developed by Neuromedical is a non-invasive, transdermal device used to stimulate the vagus nerve during sleep, suitable for patients with mild to moderate cognitive impairment associated with dementia and occurring in the course of Alzheimer’s disease. The device is intended for home use. Depending on the degree of dementia, the device will be used by the patient alone or with the help of a caregiver. The potential users also include institutions dealing with this type of patients, such as hospitals and nursing homes. The VGuard project is the first solution on the global market to use vagus nerve stimulation to achieve improvements in the function of the brain areas responsible for memory consolidation. The device will connect to a dedicated mobile application and collect data in the cloud. Operation will be very simple, limited to placing the device in the ear and putting on a sensor band. The technology is protected by a patent application.
In vivo research regarding the analysis of the direct and indirect stimulation of the vagus nerve on the type II hippocampal rhythm, carried out as part of the project, are innovative on a global scale. The results obtained by the Neuromedical team in cooperation with the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Łódź confirm the results of pioneering research in this field – stimulation increases, among others, levels of noradrenaline in the spinal and basal ganglia of the brain, which slows down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, a decrease in the concentration of tau protein in cerebrospinal fluid, responsible for the progression of disease symptoms, is observed.
At the time of INNOventure investment, the project has completed the pre-clinical phase. Animal studies and first clinical studies have been carried out on 30 patients using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The INNOventure investment will finance further research and development work on animals, human research including statistical analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging results, development of software for system control and data collection, and improvement of the ergonomics of the operational parts of the device.
The project is led by an international team of experts in the fields of neuroscience, neurophysiology, psychiatry and medical engineering.
Dr. Tamir Ben David – chief project engineer. Creator of over 18 patents. Extensive experience in venture capital management and projects that include medical devices, including Orad, BioControl, BSP, OB-Tools, Virtual Ports and IHCV. He holds a PhD in physics and an MBA from the University of Tel Aviv.
dr Adam Broncel – medical director. A graduate of the Medical University in Łódź in Poland and postgraduate studies in Berkeley. PhD in neuroscience. Conducts international research projects in the field of experimental neuroscience.
Yossi Bornstein – co-founder. Founder and president of SHIZIM – a holding company operating in natural sciences. He is also the founder and president of SHIZIM XL – a network of international innovation centers in the field of medical devices. President of GCP CLINICAL STUDIES LTD. – one of the best providers of clinical research services and educational programs in Israel. He was the chairman of the Biotechnology Committee at the US-Israeli Science and Technology Commission. He is the founder of the Israel Life Science Industry Organization and the Israel Tech Transfer Organization. He is also a co-founder and director of MICROBOT MEDICAL (NASDAQ-MBOT) and a co-founder and director of XACT Robotics.
Raanan Gefen – project engineer. He specializes in research management and development of groundbreaking projects for over 30 years, of which 15 in the area of medical devices. Raanan managed, among others, the development of the NanoRetina – miniature artificial retina. He is the inventor of over 30 registered patents and many other patent applications in various medical disciplines.
Agnieszka Jarecka – head of R&D projects development. Over 10 years of experience in managing international research and development projects. From 2016, she managed three start-ups from Israel in the life sciences sector.
dr Paulina Kłos-Wojtczak – neurophysiologist, neurobiologist and medical biotechnologist. Experienced in research in the field of neuroscience, especially brain electrophysiology. Co-author of theoretical and experimental scientific papers.
Wojciech Białecki – project engineer. A graduate of Biomedical Engineering at the Faculty of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Automation of the Łódź University of Technology. Experienced in the field of medical electronics and the processing of medical images and biometric signals.
prof. Jan Konopacki – head of neurophysiology. An expert in the field of neurophysiology at the Faculty of Neurobiology at the University of Łódź. He has also worked as a professor of neuroscience and a visiting researcher at the University of Calgary, Canada. He is the author or co-author of over 190 publications. The subject of his research includes neurodegenerative diseases and oscillatory activity of the brain.
prof. Piotr Gałecki – the main clinical researcher. Psychiatrist, academic teacher and doctor. Head of the Department of Adult Psychiatry, Medical University of Łódź. National consultant in the field of psychiatry. Author and co-author of over 300 publications in which he combines the fields of psychiatry and psychology.