QMUL has partnered with imec, Medtronic, Ghent University and others to launch the CARDIS project. Together they will develop and validate an early-stage cardiovascular disease detection platform using integrated silicon photonics.
The project is supported by the recently launched European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Industrial leadership in Information and Communication Technologies (H2020). The project’s overarching goal is the investigation and demonstration of a mobile, low-cost device based on a silicon photonics integrated laser Doppler vibrometer. The concept will be validated for the screening of arterial stiffness, and detection of stenosis and heart failure in a clinical setting.
The CARDIS research activities include:
Over the next three and a half years, CARDIS will be managed by imec, through imec’s associated laboratory located at Ghent University (Photonics Research Group in the Department of Information Technology). Medtronic’s Bakken Research Center (Netherlands) will be responsible for the scientific and technical coordination of the project.
Other industrial, academic and clinical partners will bring their expertise to the project. The team aims to develop a simple hand-held device which, by scanning the neck of a patient, can determine the shape and speed of the pulse as it travels away from the heart. The stiffness of the carotid artery can then be determined, because the faster the pulse travels, the stiffer the artery. The primary goal of the QMUL group is to prove that the information provided by the scanner is a reliable indicator of the pulse speed and shape.
QMUL’s research group, led by Professor Stephen Greenwald, Professor of Cardiovascular Mechanics at QMUL, has been working for many years on new ways to measure arterial stiffness and in 2010 received an ‘Invention for Innovation’ (i4i) award from the NIHR to develop a non-contact method for measuring arterial stiffness, thus avoiding the need for skilled operators and this work.
Professor Greenwald, comments: “Arterial stiffness is a reliable predictor of ill-health resulting from heart and arterial disease. However, current methods for measuring arterial stiffness are time consuming, uncomfortable, and they require expensive equipment with highly trained operators. Because of this, arterial stiffness measurements have been confined to specialist centres and research laboratories. We need to make arterial stiffness measurement more accessible. By screening large numbers of patients in GP surgeries or clinics, we could identify the patients most at risk and reduce the need for expensive treatment before serious symptoms develop. Given the economic burden of cardiovascular disease, the social and financial benefits are potentially huge.”
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