In situations where our brain experiences a force of impact, for example, falling and hitting your head or being in a car accident, our brain sustains trauma. Intracranial pressure (ICP) is the build-up of pressure in the brain due to trauma, and it’s the key physiological indicator of traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI is the number one cause of death and disability in European young adults; a total of 2.5 million people suffer from a TBI in Europe each year, with 75,000 cases resulting in death. In the US, the annual healthcare costs of TBI exceed 70 billion dollars annually. There is also a growing concern in Europe and the US about the impact of TBI during amateur and professional sports, as well as the chronic effects of TBI, which may result in a predisposition to dementia later in life. Any patient suffering from TBI can experience debilitating symptoms for several months after the incident.
The current measurement of ICP is a highly invasive and expensive procedure involving the insertion of a pressure sensor into the patient’s brain by drilling a hole through the skull. It’s imperative for clinicians to know the patient’s correct level of ICP in various situations, as it helps them understand a patient’s condition and determine the appropriate treatment. There is a clear need for a non-invasive ICP monitoring technology to reduce the risks associated with current measuring methods and expand the scope of patients who would benefit from such clinical information.
CrAInio sets out to revolutionise how we measure ICP by developing a non-invasive, inexpensive measurement instrument that uses a simple probe attached to the patient’s forehead. Since our skull and tissue are translucent, it’s possible to use photoplethysmography (PPG) to pick up pulse signals of the brain by shining low-power infrared light at the scalp. Algorithm learning machines process the features of the pulse signals and convert them into ICP estimates continuously, in real-time, and non-invasively.
CrAInio has developed it’s first prototype has been clinically evaluated on intensive care patients, and analysis has shown a high degree of correlation and accuracy against the gold-standard (invasive) ICP monitor. The current focus is on improving the predictive pattern of their algorithms, increasing the speed and accuracy of the measurement by the probe.
Meet the team
Nick joined NLC in July 2022 from a London-based VC fund where he led European Life Sciences investments and was a Member of the Fund’s Investment Committee. Over the past ten years, he has backed several high-profile companies, including taking one from Series A to IPO in the USA. Nick started his career as a surgeon, specialising in neurosurgery. He holds medicine and law degrees, including a master’s degree in Surgical Technology from Imperial College London and an MBA from London Business School. Nick is eager to leverage his experience and knowledge to help NLC build ventures and advance health.