Following Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher’s recent skiing accident, brain trauma has been making headlines. An Irish company has developed a medical device that may be of significant benefit in cases of brain injury. Eurolec Instrumentation Ltd’s ‘Cool Brain’ was designed to cool the brain at the earliest possible opportunity in the event of a stroke, heart attack or brain trauma to achieve the best possible prognosis.
Roughly 10,000 people suffer a stroke in Ireland each year, with this leading to 1,928 deaths in 2012 alone, according to the Central Statistics Office figures. Understandably, research teams are keen to develop new treatment procedures aimed at reducing these figures, with mild therapeutic hypothermia considered one potential method.
Induced hypothermia has long been recognised as having neuroprotective benefits and is regularly used in the treatment of ischaemic stroke, cardiac arrest and traumatic brain injury. It is also used to assist babies who experience breathing difficulties at birth and to cool the scalp of chemotherapy patients to significantly reduce hair loss. Current research suggests that the main reason for its success is promoting anti-inflammatory responses that lower cerebral metabolic rate, which in turn reduces cell death at the site of injury. One of the big advantages is that the device is portable, operating from its own rechargeable battery which is key when the device is needed in an emergency situation and in ambulances. The ability to administer such a treatment, prior to hospital admission, could offer enormous benefits.
Using an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher the company commissioned an independent evaluation of the device by a team from the Neuroscience Department in Trinity College Dublin under the leadership of Professor Shane O’Mara. Their full academic report runs to 17 pages and concluded that the device has considerable potential and could greatly benefit patients.
Eurolec Instrumentation (together with its associate company, Oriel Medical Devices Ltd) is keen to realise the full commercial potential of the patented device and is currently pitching to interested parties and is interested in hearing from organisations that have experience with medical devices and their route to market. For more information visit the company's website.