The brain of the newborn is very different from the adult posing a major problem in assessing the origins of its injuries and in developing therapeutics. This is further complicated when the newborn was born prematurely or its in-utero development has been compromised.
In these situations, their interplay between contributing factors become complex to understand with current tools since they are technically and ethically difficult to employ widely.
TinyBrains will develop a neuro-imager and focus on congenital heart-defects (CHD). CHD is the most prevalent congenital malformation with about a million births worldwide annually.
Advances in surgical techniques and perioperative management have dramatically reduced mortality rates with more than 85% surviving to adulthood.
However, significant neurodevelopmental problems are observed in about 50% due to brain injury. It being so prevalent and also having accepted accionable points in its care and therapy, TinyBrains chose CHD as its target to provide a research platform to improve the understanding of the cellular origin of the brain injury by enabling the assessment of the link between energy demand and oxygen supply.
To do so, we will combine advanced biophotonics technologies and electroencephalography into a disruptive research tool enabling research into new brain-oriented therapies and management strategies.
TinyBrains will measure cerebral hemodynamics, oxygen metabolism and electrophysiology simultaneously. In vivo imaging in three-dimensions, i.e. tomography, will greatly increase the brain specificity and penetration as well as, for the first time, providing spatial resolution to this class of measurements. This plethora of information will enable us to carry out pre-clinical animal and clinical studies in infants with and without CHD to gain a peek at the cellular origins of brain injury.
By bringing together academia, clinics and industry, TinyBrains further seeks to create the path for exploitation.