29 October 2020 World Stroke Day

World Stroke Day: October 29

Light based technologies for improved understanding and treatment of stroke Stroke, in particular, ischemic stroke where there is a blockage that cuts off blood supply to the brain, is a complex condition. Today, the most common treatments involve the rapid dissolution of the clot using systemic or local administration of a clot-buster drug or the mechanical extraction of the clot. Treatments must be administered in the emergency room within a few hours of the stroke. Unfortunately, only a small subset of patients receive this treatment and the outcome is favorable in only a small percentage of treated patients.

Researchers in the Medical Optics group led by ICREA Professor at ICFO Dr. Turgut Durduran are developing technologies using near infrared (“reddish”) light to provide physicians with helpful information in a safe manner and at the bed-side of the patient. This information is currently unobtainable from other commercially available devices. ICFO researchers team up with the Stroke Unit of Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau for clinical testing of these devices. They also team up with the Cerebrovascular Research Group at IDIBAPS to understand the fundamentals of ischemic stroke in animal models. These photonic devices non-invasively monitor the tinniest vessels of patient’ brains, providing continuous information on blood-flow, blood volume, blood oxygenation and oxygen consumption. They are used to complement powerful tools like MRIs and CT-scans and aim to optimize treatments and improve outcomes and quality of life for stroke patients. The ultimate goal is to develop devices that can be widely used in all stroke units, expanding to portable devices for use in ambulances.

Photonic technologies being developed through ICFO’s Light for Health Program are an important example of one of the ways that light is being used to provide solutions for important challenges facing society. This research has received support from La Marató de TV3, the “La Caixa” Foundation through the initiative LlumMedBcn, the Cellex Foundation, the European Commission, the Severo Ochoa programme, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, and the Spanish Ministry of Health.