Dr. Etienne de Villers-Sidani, researcher and neurologist at The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital), is working on a mobile application that will improve the quality of life and care of patients with neurological problems or neurodegenerative disorder such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Frontotemporal Dementia.
The mobile app, developed through de Villers-Sidani’s company, Innodem Neurosciences, has now received 6 million US dollars of financing to further develop and commercialize their patented digital biomarking technology that is powered by machine/deep learning. The mobile software enables a tablet or smartphone to capture Eye Movement Biomarkers (EMBs) and Gaze Mapping Biomarkers (GMBs) accurately within minutes to assist a clinician's diagnosis or to follow illness progression. The eye-tracking tests can be completed remotely in minutes by the patient from the comfort of their own home, which is a major advantage, especially during a pandemic.
“This has been a collaborative effort with colleagues at The Neuro and McGill University, and especially with patients - their input is crucial for the training and refinement of the technology.” said Dr. de Villers-Sidani.
Clinical trials for the digital biomarking technology will run at The Neuro’s Clinical Research Unit (CRU) lead by Dr. Angela Genge and in coordination with Dr Paul Giacomini of the MS group. The goal of these studies will be to determine the extent to which Innodem’s technology can track and detect subtle changes in patients’ eye-movement behavior indicative of disease progression that may not show up using standard of care tests such as MRIs or EDSS questionnaires. "If physicians can detect very early symptoms in patients transitioning to the progressive form of MS, they may recommend treatment which could prevent the development of more severe neurological impairments. No practical tools currently exist to detect such a transition to progressive MS and I believe that eye-tracking can fill that important gap" says Dr. de Villers-Sidani.
For more information:
• Innodem website: https://innodemneurosciences.com/