ARCHIVED - New Technology to Ease Parkinson's

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July 07, 2007— Ottawa, Ontario

Scientists at NRC and a London, Ontario research institute have developed a medical device to help treat people with neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease. The new technology is already generating awards and recognition for Medtrode, a London company that has licensed it.

The technology, a small implantable device that can simultaneously stimulate parts of the brain and record neuron signals, is designed to support a procedure called deep brain stimulation (DBS) – the leading treatment for advanced cases of movement disorders. DBS also shows promise for treating diseases such as Tourette's syndrome as well as severe chronic pain, which is often associated with spinal cord injuries.

Deep brain stimulation multi-channel device
Deep brain stimulation multi-channel device

"... I have always dreamed that someday we will be able to rewire the brain to treat devastating diseases. NRC's contribution to the medical device industry, and its role in guiding and enhancing the development of Medtrode, have been a key part of our progress toward achieving that goal."

Medtrode CEO Souhile Assaf

The device was developed by Dr. Suwas Nikumb, a researcher with the NRC Integrated Manufacturing Technologies Institute, and his colleague Craig Dinkel, in collaboration with Dr. Mandar Jog, a scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute who is also a neurologist at the London Health Sciences Centre.

"The expertise in manufacturing science that exists at NRC has resulted in a DBS device that has more channels and functions, and is smaller than current electrodes," says Dr. Nikumb. "This is a huge advance on current technology."

"As a neurophysiologist, I have always dreamed that someday we will be able to rewire the brain to treat devastating diseases," says Medtrode CEO Dr. Souhile Assaf. "NRC's contribution to the medical device industry and its role in guiding and enhancing the development of Medtrode have been a key part of our progress toward achieving that goal."

In September 2006, the Neurotech Leaders Forum – held in San Francisco – awarded Medtrode the prestigious "2006 Gold Electrode Award" as the most promising start-up firm in the international neurotechnology industry. And in March 2007, Medtrode was a finalist for a Business Achievement award from the London Chamber of Commerce in the area of product innovation.

The DBS multi-channel device was developed with funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Materials and Manufacturing, and the Health Technology Exchange. Support from the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) will enable extended testing and allow Medtrode to further advance the development of the device.

Related information

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada
613-991-1431
media@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

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