• Date: October 29, 2019

Stroke is the world’s second leading cause of death, and up to 50% of survivors are left with chronic disabilities. This underscores an urgent need for improved and more precise therapeutics. In honour of World Stroke Day (29th October), we are today highlighting a CaixaImpulse project which sets out to predict and improve stroke prognosis.

PROMISE study leader Alicia Martínez Piñeiro

The PROMISE study, led by Alicia Martínez Piñeiro from Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital, aims to develop an easy-to-use pocket device to determine the prognosis of ischemic stroke patients. This technology will allow healthcare professionals to make quicker decisions regarding treatment—and timing is absolutely crucial given that stroke causes the death of approximately 1.9 million neurons for every minute that it is left untreated.

Since 2015, mechanical thrombectomy (MT) has been the gold standard in treating ischemic stroke, which constitutes 75% of all cases. A stent is threaded from the femoral vein through to the brain, where the clot that caused the stroke is mechanically removed. Until now, doctors haven't been able to predict how a patient would respond to MT, and many still suffer from irreversible brain damage. And that’s exactly where the PROMISE study comes in. Alicia and team demonstrated that evoked potentials (EP), an electrical signal produced by the brain in response to a stimulus, can act as a good predictor for post-MT outcome, that is, whether or not patients will respond to it. Furthermore, continuous EP monitoring during MT also becomes a tool to identify patients requiring urgent treatment.

The PROMISE study team are developing a device that will streamline the treatment of ischemic stroke patients. 

They are currently developing a handheld device that can be used by paramedics, and other healthcare professionals, to send EP recordings to a cloud which can be accessed by the hospital. The idea is that patients can be transfered to a Comprehensive Stroke Center or remain in the Primary Stroke Center depending on the result of EP recording. Alicia explains that she expects this streamlining of treatment to improve outcomes in ischemic stroke patients.

Thanks to the support received from CaixaImpulse, this project is on its way to developing the first prototype. After this, the team will put their regulatory road map in place, and they expect to enter the market by 2024. Alicia adds that, coming from a scientific background, the training received from the programme has been an invaluable opportunity to learn the essentials of the commercialisation process, from regulation, to business management, and beyond.

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If you think that one of these programmes could be for you, visit the programme page to get all details you need to apply.