Every year, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke. Nearly 6 million die and another five million are left permanently disabled. In fact, stroke is the second leading cause of disability after dementia. In developed countries, the incidence of stroke is declining, largely due to efforts to lower blood pressure and reduce smoking. However, the overall rate of stroke remains high due to the aging of the population.
When faced with a stroke, it is vital to restore blood flow and supply of oxygen to the brain. Current therapies are able to reopen vessels, however the sudden restoration of blood flow can cause reperfusion injury, 'over-oxygenation' of the injured area resulting in additional brain damage. In fact, clinical data show that close to 70% of patients who undergo successful intervention are still debilitated specifically because of the over-oxygenation of the brain.
Cognition Medical, a Boston-based startup, develop a device that removes blood clots from the brain, using minimally invasive techniques. The novel design of the device address the problem of over-oxygenation when blood flow is restored. To avoid this injury, their patent-pending device not only clears the clot to restore blood flow, but it regulates the rate oxygenated blood is returned to the brain by inflating a small balloon. Based on clinical research, it is estimated that the technology could decrease brain damage by approximately 35% compared to existing therapies. Below is a video of the prototype in action describing some of the features of the device, and how the balloon regulate blood flow.
Jonah Bernstein witnessed his grandfather suffer a stroke, and at the age of 15 he decided to dedicate his career to finding a way to help stroke victims. After completing his MBA at Harvard Business School, he partnered with Alex Rujman, a PhD from MIT in vascular biology to found Cognition Medical. Together they have gathered an incredible team of scientists, engineers, clinicians and businessmen to bring the device to market.
The market for stroke devices is one of the fastest growing among medical devices and is expected to reach $1.3 billion in the US alone. With their innovative technology, Cognition Medical has an advantage over the current devices. The startup was selected to be part of the world's first neuroscience startup accelerator NeuroLaunch, and was also part of the competition and virtual accelerator MedTech Innovator. With their history, vision, and innovative technology, it will be interesting to follow the development of the device and the company.