Every step in the history of humanity has been associated with a material key: without going any further, stone, bronze and silicon marked a before and after in the evolution of our species. “Now is the age of two-dimensional materials like graphene«, Explain Carolina Aguilar, CEO and Co-Founder of INBRAIN Neuroelectronicsthe ‘start-up’ winner of the Empresa + Innovadora award granted by EL PERIÓDICO.

The characteristics of graphene, the thinnest material known to man –with one atom thick, it is 200 times stronger than aluminum and is flexible, biocompatible, conductive–, make it irresistible for the development of nanotechnology. Some possibilities that INBRAIN Neuroelectronics knows perfectly well and knows how to take advantage of to advance the development of neuroelectronic therapies and ‘medtech’ (the use of technology for medical purposes) in Spain, as identified by the jury of the contest in question.

Through graphene, this Spanish company founded in 2019 is developing implantable chips in the brain. Unlike those currently used, which are usually made of platinum and iridium, they are less invasive while offering more biomarkers (contact points with the brain) and, therefore, higher probability of effectiveness. With this material we can reading and writing in the brain”, summarizes Aguilar, an expert in nanotechnology, in reference to the bidirectionality of the devices. Gather information about brain activity and act accordingly, correcting deviations in neural circuits to curbing the symptoms of many neurological diseasessuch as Parkinson’s, epilepsy, depression or Alzheimer’s.

In addition, the information is also especially useful for remote monitoring of the patient, optimizing healthcare resources, and even in the event of a possible intervention by neurosurgeons. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a responsible role in this process: “it helps us to identify the pathological neural signals (frequency bands) of each patient, to relate them to symptoms and to program the chip so that the therapy is as effective as possible”, develops the CEO of the firm.

For example, in the case of the parkinson, the chips modulate the high-frequency gamma bands, which are related to dyskinesia (involuntary movements) and the low-frequency beta bands, linked to bradykinesia (slowness of movement and stiffness), both symptoms of this neurodegenerative disease . The first human application of the INBRAIN Neuroelectronics technology will take place later this year, at the start of a clinical trial. «This is the first time in the world that a graphene interface has been placed on a person to intervene in a tumor with high precision,» explains Aguilar.

sum of talent

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Thanks to its commitment to innovation, INBRAIN competes with the largest companies in the sector and contributes to achieving greater competitiveness in the European market in the field of neuroscience, as well as improving the quality of life of patients with brain diseases. The INBRAIN Neuroelectronics team, a firm linked to the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, is made up of 50 professionals from 14 different countries. “Receiving this recognition from EL PERIÓDICO has a huge motivational effect for our team”, explains Aguilar. A first-rate staff made up of scientists, doctors, engineers and technology experts. “Since the birth of the company, we have dedicated ourselves to assemble the talent of all of them We have already fought against adversity, since as a start-up we face many daily challenges”, adds the CEO of the company.

“Neuroscience is in its infancy. Very little is known about the brain and we have the mission to really understand it, since it manages all the organs of the body”, highlights Aguilar. Aware of this, the European Union has made a great commitment to neuroscience in the form of R&D financing programs, from which INBRAIN benefits, together with private financing, to carry out its projects.