International project to develop new pacemaker starts today

Press release, 25.1.2017, Brno

Dr Viola GalligioniCreating a new generation of advanced pacemakers which adapt to the demands of a patient’s body is the goal of a new international research consortium of 6 universities, 2 companies and the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne´s University Hospital in Brno. The consortium has received a grant of €5M from the Future & Emerging Technologies program of the EU program Horizon 2020 and the project starts today by a meeting of all partners in Brussels. The EU grant will enable the development, testing and validation of equipment which will help patients with chronic cardiorespiratory diseases, such as heart failure, heart arrhythmia, or other conditions such as sleep apnoea and hypertension.

Existing pacemakers rely on non-physiological methods to regulate the heartbeat. For example, some models use data from accelerometers to adjust the level of cardiac activity. This occasionally provides inadequate adaptation, however. Furthermore, a number of chronic diseases, such as heart failure, currently have no cure through existing approaches.

The new pacemaker will be a bio-electronic device making use of the principles of non-linear science, where outputs do not vary proportionally according to inputs. It will use technology mimicking neurons which will let the pacemaker to respond to inputs non-linearly in real time and therefore more realistically and appropriately for the patient.

The team of Alain Nogaret at University of Bath has developed physical models capable of predicting behavior of neurons and small neural devices which have proved effective in reversing the effects of heart failure. The university has created an international consortium CResPace (Adaptive-Cardio-Respiratory Pacemaker) to bring together the resources needed to expand this research and translate it into therapies. Apart from the FNUSA-ICRC, other members of the consortium are Universities of Bristol, Zurich, Vienna and Utrech, and industrial research teams at Miscosemi and Medtronic.

„The Animal Centre of FNUSA-ICRC will supervise preclinical studies of the new pacemaker“, explains Dr. Viola Galligioni, the head of the centre. „We will also be responsible for compliance of the pacemaker with regulation of Food and Drug Administration (FDA, US) and Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA, UK), in order to get the approval for making this technology available for all patients, including those from Czech Republic.“

„Up to 2% of population suffer from chronic heart failure and another 10% from hear arrhythmia and at high age the incidence of both disorders increases to 10%”, highlights Martin Pavlík, Director of St. Anne´s University Hospital. “Nearly 5 million people across the world have a pacemaker. A better type would increase the quality of their life significantly.”

„This is the 7th grant from Horizon 2020 program of the European Union in which we participate”, adds Gorazd B. Stokin, Chair of FNUSA-ICRC. “We have won more nearly 40 million Czk (€1.5 mil.) from it in less than 18 months, 30% of our applications to this program have been successful.”

Contact:

Petra Veselá, assistant to the CEO and přes spokesperson of FNUSA, email: petra.vesela@fnusa.cz