PROMETEUS kick-off: Preterm Brain-Oxygenation and Metabolic Eu-Sensing

“PIONIRS s.r.l, is partner in the “Prometeus – Preterm Brain-Oxygenation and Metabolic EU-Sensing: Feed the Brain project (kick-off on February 1st 2023), coordinated by the University of Padova and funded by the European Innovation Council with almost 4 million euros.

This visionary research project, with a strong focus on technological development, aims to develop a non-invasive approach to measuring and improving the brain health of premature infants in intensive care. Premature birth is a growing problem, with an increasing number of infants surviving the critical postpartum period due to improvements in intensive neonatal care. These infants are at risk of developing cognitive, sensory, or motor deficits later in life, as their immature metabolism struggles to manage the nutrients needed for brain development. Currently, nutrient intake is regulated by empirical guidelines, but there are no systems that can simultaneously monitor both the health of the infant’s brain and the amount of nutrients needed for brain development.

Over the next four years, a multidisciplinary research team comprising physicists, engineers, psychologists, physicians, and programmers will work on developing innovative ways to manage the diet of premature infants. This will include developing two new biomedical devices for monitoring the infant’s brain health – an ergonomic headset that continuously monitors cerebral hemodynamics and a miniaturized sensor that continuously measures the three key metabolites: glucose, lactate, and ketones.

The team will also create a virtual nutritionist, and algorithms to control its operation. They will design a digital twin of the infant – a mobile application interface for healthcare professionals that provides information from the virtual nutritionist, and an interface for parents to stay virtually connected with their child.

Prometeus aims to significantly reduce the number of premature infants who develop cognitive, motor, or sensory deficits later in life. The brain hemodynamic monitoring devices, based on TD-NIRS and SCOS that the project will provide to physicians will enable them to intervene more promptly, preventing such deficits from occurring. PIONIRS s.r.l is proud to be a partner in this innovative project, contributing its photonics technology expertise to help improve the health outcomes of premature infants.

The Prometeus project is a collaboration between 11 partners from both academia and industry across 6 countries. These countries include Italy, France, Spain, Israel, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The partners involved are University of Padua, Politecnico di Milano, PIONIRS, Dave Embedded Systems, Université Grenoble Alpes, Institut National de la santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Universitat de Girona, Institut de Ciències Fotòniques, QULAB Medical Ltd, University College Cork, and University College London.”

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PROMETEUS project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No101099093