The goal is to act on the dormant neurons to relaunch their secretion of dopamine, the missing neuromediator responsible for the symptoms.
This article is taken from the monthly Sciences et Avenir – La Recherche n°907, September 2022.
Illuminates the brain from within and continuously to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease. No, this is not a science fiction scenario but rather a pioneering test called NIR (Near Infra Red), carried out by the Clinatec center in Grenoble. Objective: to act on the dormant neurons of Parkinson’s patients to relaunch their secretion of dopamine, the missing neuromediator responsible for the symptoms (tremor, rigidity, gait disturbances).
The trial began in 2021, after excellent results obtained in animal models (published in 2016 in annals Neurology) showing that a molecule involved in dopamine production could be reactivated by infrared. 14 patients, all suffering from early-stage disease, will be monitored for four years, half of them being stimulated. In practice, it is an implantable intracerebral near-deep brain stimulation device, developed by Pr Alim-Louis Benabid, connected to an optical generator connected to an optical fiber that continuously delivers near-infrared light to the brain. We are therefore faced with a double stimulation, electrical and light, pulsed and cyclical (one minute followed by 5 minutes off), directed at the place of degeneration of the dopamine-secreting neurons.
“No disturbances have been reported”
“The main goal of NIR, to prove that there are no side effects, is well on its way to being achieved. “, explains Professor Stephan Chabardès, neurosurgeon and director of Clinatec, who continues: “According to neuropsychological tests and sleep assessments performed regularly on the three implanted patients to date, no discomfort has been reported, with none feeling the light emitted from the device. “Encouraging first results. The second objective remains to be achieved: to demonstrate that the progression of the disease can be[…]