Functional brain imaging is fundamental to the diagnosis and treatment of many brain pathologies such as neurodegenerative diseases and epilepsy. Among the non-invasive neuroimaging strategies, electroencephalography (EEG) from scalp potentials is the most commonly used. Unfortunately, this technique is not very accurate as the skull is very resilient and reduces the spatial resolution of the imaging.
The current standard techniques to obtain better images are to implant EEG electrodes under the skull (ECoG) or in the cerebral cortex (StereoEEG). Both of these techniques are particularly invasive as they require cranial trephination and cannot be practiced over large areas, making it impossible to map brain activity globally.
The CEREBRO project (CEREBRO – an electrical contrast agent for computationally intensive electroencephalography for high-resolution brain imaging without cranial trephination – Grant Agreement No. 101046748) aims to develop a new brain imaging method with a resolution similar to ECoG and StereoEEG, but introduces comprehensive brain imaging with non-invasive techniques. It was developed by Department of Electronics and Telecommunications (DET) of the Politecnico di Torino Research group: Professor Francesco Paolo Andriulli (Project Coordinator), Giuseppe Vecchi and Danilo Demarchi. The classic non-invasive EEG is improved by a new tool: the first ever existing contrast agent, developed using innovative microfluidics, nanoelectronics and high-performance computing techniques.
The research project is carried out together with several international partners: Institut Mines-Télécom (France), Université de Bretagne Occidentale (France), G.Tec Medical Engineering Gmbh (Austria), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland). It will last 4 years and aim for a TRL level of 4 to 6, meaning a precise level of technological maturity that will allow the development of a first working prototype.
The knowledge developed by CEREBRO has the potential to significantly improve medical diagnostic technology for brain imaging, thereby contributing to significant growth of the diagnostic imaging sector.
The neuroimaging business is a pretty relevant size: €3 billion in annual global sales, out of the €22.5 billion annual global biomedical imaging sales, what that means The economic potential of the applied research associated with CEREBRO is very high.
The project, in fact, was funded by the European Innovation Council’s Pathfinder call for proposalsto support visionary ideas that may open promising pathways to powerful new technologies.
“We thank the European Innovation Council for the trust in this project coordinated by PoliTO – Conditions Professor Andriulli, the project coordinator – The prestige and scientific dynamism of Politecnico played a key role in the development of an international partnership with all the necessary expertise that will ensure the effectiveness and success of the project”.
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