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1 August, 2022 - 16:04 By Tony Quested

Cambridge AI solution to replace drugs for cardiac patients

BIOS Health, a leading neural engineering startup based in Cambridge, reveals that a research partnership established in 2020 has received further funding of $1.8 million Canadian (£1.55m) to develop an AI solution to heart disease that could ultimately replace drugs.

The backing comes from MEDTEQ+ (the Pan-Canadian Consortium for Industrial Research and Innovation in Medical Technology) with the support of the Ministry of Economy and Innovation of Quebec (MEI), Mitacs Accelerate and the Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives program at McGill University.

In 2020, BIOS initiated a groundbreaking CA$800k research partnership with Mila, McGill University and the Université de Montréal to develop an AI-controlled closed-loop neuromodulation system for chronic cardiac conditions. 

Today, the new project worth CA$1.8 million will build on existing collaborative work and will go further in the research into neuro-cardiac control.

Emil Hewage, CEO of BIOS Health said: “This new funding is further validation of the great results and progress we’ve been making in our ATI programme. We have a talented team of neuroscientists and engineers and we’re really looking forward to the next stage which will take us right up to the point of clinical trials in humans.”

The BIOS team will continue to collaborate with Dr Blake Richards, Assistant Professor, School of Computer Science, McGill University and Dr. Guillaume Lajoie, Assistant Professor, Applied Mathematics, Université de Montréal in conducting this research. 

The aim is to use AI to preferentially modulate cardiac function while reducing side effects on other organs; culminating in a technology that improves patient outcomes in a clinical setting.

Dr Lajoie explains: “Our growing understanding of the link between neural- and bio-markers makes it abundantly clear that the future of many clinical interventions will include neural interfacing. 

“This will enable patients to receive second-by-second personalised treatments informed by the interactions between neural and physiological activity (e.g. heart rate), decoded by Machine Learning. 

“The outcome will be higher response rates, fewer side effects compared to pharmaceutical interventions and more targeted treatments for patients. In short, this has the potential to massively impact chronic disease rates globally, as well as the cost of treatment.”

The partnership with Mila will work to optimise the BIOS system to decode and encode the signals from the brain to the body. Its vision for future healthcare is one where patients will have their chronic conditions managed via the nervous system directly by AI – replacing drugs and changing the lives of millions of people. 

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