Whats Been The Biggest Challenge
We constantly struggle with not being able to get CUE1 to those who need it now. We want to release the device as soon as possible, but are acutely aware that doing things right especially in the medical-device world takes time. Knowing that a certain step is necessary for CUE1 to make it into the world successfully is a psychological challenge especially if it means it will delay our device release by an extra week.
Aside from this, the everyday challenges of running a startup are difficult at times. Keeping track of all the different aspects that need to be considered is a juggling act from team building to finance to marketing to product development to regulatory hurdles. Thankfully, as the team grows we can dedicate more and more bright minds to each challenge and that makes the entire process not only more manageable, but also much more enjoyable!
Imperial Startup Joins Forces With Qmul On Medtech To Help Parkinson’s Sufferers
by David Silverman24 May 2022
Charco Neurotech, founded at Imperial, will work with Queen Mary University of London, to test its device for alleviating the symptoms of Parkinsons.
The medical technology startups innovative device, named CUE1, is designed to be worn on the chest and delivers vibrations that early research suggests may help reduce several symptoms of Parkinsons disease, an incurable brain disorder that causes difficulties with movement.
Current treatments for the symptoms of Parkinsons, the worlds fastest growing neurodegenerative condition, are often based around drugs that can have side effects and whose efficacy can wane over time. CUE1 could provide a non-pharmaceutical complement to these existing treatments.
The non-invasive wearable device works by delivering localised vibrations to the chest that in turn send signals to the nervous system which pre-clinical research suggests could help to reduce symptoms such as slowness, stiffness and problems with balance.
Helping People With Parkinsons Overcome Mobility Symptoms
It may not make a huge difference to appendicular rigidity , postural symptoms, balance or tremors. However, Dr Sweta explains how intermittent stimulation could help those who struggle with walking difficulty and intermittent freezing. The vibrotactile stimulation, in theory, should reduce hypokinesia and boost the effect of levodopa.
Devices such as bent sticks, laser light devices and more are already being used for facilitating walking in patients of Parkinsons Disease, although they do not employ sensory stimulation. The CUE1 Device utilises this component well.
Dr Sweta concludes that any clinical trials that are carried out that prudently monitor the akinesia , hypokinesia and freezing aspects trialled with and without stimulation from the CUE1 Device would be highly valuable.
Buoyed by these affirming comments we continue to develop CUE1 to be as effective and user-friendly as possible with plans to take the technology to clinical trials in the coming months.
We strive for its success to help people suffering from the disease and to provide a ray of hope to their families equally struggling to care for them. Thank you to Dr Sweta for lending her expertise and support, further adding to the fantastic knowledge base behind CUE1.
Stay up-to-date with our progress and be the first to know when CUE1 is available and on sale! Well also send you an introductory offer as well as further information on our research progress and testing recruitment.
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Whats Been Your Biggest Success So Far
The whole Charco journey so far has been punctuated by many highs, as well as the daily challenges that come with building a startup. By far the best days have been those when we know weve made a difference to peoples lives. Whether its a day of successful testing with one of our amazing community members, or something as simple as an appreciative reply when we answer someones question over email, these experiences remind us of why were doing what were doing.
Its also been impossible not to feel a little proud and very excited as weve watched CUE1 transform from an early workshop prototype to the sleek and professional product it has now become. Every time we receive a new sample, opening the package is like opening a Christmas present!
Another thing to be proud of is the team that weve built. Its amazing to think that we started with just two founders and a few mentors, but now have ten dedicated team members a number that seems to keep growing! We feel incredibly lucky to have such a diverse, hard-working and passionate group of people who share our vision of improving life for people with Parkinsons and other long-term conditions.
Our most recent milestone has been closing our seed round of investment. This is a result of hard work from the whole team, and gives us the ability to have the biggest possible impact on peoples lives in a short space of time.
Peripheral Stimulation And Parkinsons
Speaking eloquently, with a dizzying speed that betrays her fierce intelligence and a deep understanding of the condition, Dr Sweta explained why she is a great fan of using any strategy which can help people with Parkinsons overcome their hypokinesia , rigidity and freezing episodes .
The CUE1 uses the concept of peripheral stimulation to help boost the neuromotor circuitry and bypass movement problems caused by a lack of dopamine . Dr Sweta deftly explains the process as stimulation at the periphery which can be anywhere and that is where the impulses go back to the brain. They hit the basal ganglia circuit and the motor cortex and again, with that stimulus, give a central boost.
Parkinsons Disease is a progressive disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain responsible for body movement. When dopamine-producing neurons die, symptoms such as tremor, slowness, stiffness, and balance problems can occur.
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Charco Neurotech Works With Experts To Test Pioneering Device
The medtech startup is collaborating with Queen Mary University of London to test its CUE1 for Parkinsons patients
Medtech startup Charco Neurotech is working with leading experts in Parkinsons disease to test its pioneering device, created to help alleviate symptoms of the condition.
Charco is collaborating with Queen Mary University of London to test its device, CUE1, and help support its research and development.
The CUE1 is worn on the chest and delivers vibrations that early research suggests may help reduce several symptoms of Parkinsons disease, an incurable brain disorder that causes difficulties with movement.
Current treatments for the symptoms of Parkinsons, the worlds fastest growing neurodegenerative condition, are often based around drug-based interventions, but CUE1 could provide a non-pharmaceutical option to add to existing treatments.
Lucy Jung, CEO and co-founder of Charco, said: We could not be more happy to be working together with QMUL on this project.
Working with such an institution and leaders in the world of Parkinsons will be instrumental and invaluable in translating research and development to support this intervention.
This will help us to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinsons.
We know that it is beautifully designed and has yielded benefits for some patients, but now it is time to investigate just how much it can offer to a wider group with Parkinsons.
What Is The Cue1
Improve your movements
The CUE1 combines the principles of focussed vibrotactile stimulation and cueing, both evidenced by scientific literature to improve motor performance and alleviate freezing of gait for people with Parkinsons.
Our testing has shown clinically significant improvements in motor symptoms whilst using the CUE1. Our testers have also reported a wide range of benefits including:
- Smoother walking and movement
- Regaining the ability to dance
- Helping fine motor tasks
Utilising non-invasive, focused vibrotactile stimulation and cueing to improve movement.
A wearable, discreet and adjustable medication reminder and recording system.
The CUE1 is worn via an adhesive patch, requiring no invasive surgery and making it quick to set up.
The CUE1 can be worn discreetly under garments or shown off as an accessory.
Easy to use
The CUE1 is simple by design and is controlled with one large, tactile button.
Track symptoms, progression and quality-of-life measures with the CUE1 app.
Wearing the CUE1
The CUE1 is a slim device and can be worn anywhere on the body, but we recommend the sternum for most effective symptom relief. It is discrete enough to be worn under clothing and is attached with a pair of medical adhesive patches. The two patches employ a hook and loop system where one remains on the body, so the CUE1 can be easily taken on and off whenever needed.
Using the CUE1
CUE app for iOS and Android
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Charco Neurotechs Cue1 Raises A Smile For Parkinsons Sufferers
Charco Neurotechs first trials of its wearable device for people with Parkinsons are proving so successful that the test candidates are reluctant to hand the gadget back to the medtech start-up.
The company, which was incorporated in June 2019, has developed the CUE1, a non-invasive way to ease the symptoms of Parkinsons by providing a vibratory stimulus to the peripheral nervous system.
The founders, Lucy Jung and Floyd Pierres currently based at Cambridge Judge Business School and with an office in London met a man 2013 who lamented: I am very happy now but I look angry because Parkinsons disease took away my smile.
Since then, their aim has been to bring smiles back for people with Parkinsons. The project started while studying at Imperial College and Royal College of Art in 2018.
Shortly after graduating we joined a pre-accelerator programme at CJBS and were now on the Accelerate Cambridge programme, explains Lucy. I looked into it and its like they are trapped in their body, so I started looking into their quality of life. Even a slight improvement leads to a huge increase in their quality of life, so that got us motivated.
The CUE1 device is based on techniques developed by Jean-Martin Charcot , a French neurologist and professor of anatomical pathology, whose studies in 1868 and 1881 were a landmark in the understanding of Parkinsons disease.
The Science Behind The Cue1
How does the CUE1 work?
How does the CUE1 work?
The CUE1 uses a quiet electric motor to produce vibrotactile stimulation. The vibrations are produced in a specialised pattern developed through extensive research and testing alongside people with Parkinsons.
Through the patterns wave shape and frequency, the device delivers two scientifically-validated principles in a combination unique to this device focused stimulation and cueing. The scientific literature, as well as our own user testing, demonstrates their efficacy.
You can watch our short video which will explain our current understanding of how the CUE1 works in more detail.
Focused stimulation for Parkinson’s
Focused stimulation for Parkinson’s
This phenomenon was first described in the 19th century when Professor Jean-Martin Charcot noticed an improvement in his Parkinsons patients after a bumpy carriage ride.
More recent research into the effect of sensory stimulation on the movement symptoms of Parkinsons has improved our understanding. When used correctly, research suggests that localised vibration, termed focused vibrotactile stimulation, elicits sensory nervous signals that are transmitted from the skin and muscle to the brain. Here, these may modulate cortical activity to reduce excessive beta wave activity seen in Parkinsons, putting the body in a ready-to-move state and reducing stiffness and slowness.
Cueing for Parkinson’s
Cueing for Parkinson’s
A deep dive into the science of Parkinsons
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You Have To Listen To Everyone In Parkinsons Community To Really Understand What Their Needs Are
In building the company through incubators at Imperial College London and Cambridge Judge Business School, UK, Jung has assembled a team of clinicians, researchers, neurologists and developers but has made sure to consider the viewpoints of the people the device is being developed for. Were continually talking to people with Parkinsons to make the product better, she says. The usability has to make sense.
This feedback has led to alterations to CUE1 whether thats improving wearability, looking at the devices range of colours, or adding extra features such as medication alerts. The beta devices are out with people with Parkinsons, and were always asking them what they want us to include, Jung explains.
She stresses that the team dont want to over-promise anything to those with the condition but with user trials going well, and testers reporting smoother walking and movement, the CUE1s waiting list has grown to 3,500 in anticipation of its official release in the UK and EU in October.
We dont really market our device that much, says Jung, Its mainly our beta testers who are going around and talking about how much its improved their quality of life. One gentleman with stage four to five Parkinsons had such improvement with his balance that he sent us a message saying he and his wife call the CUE1 our friend and that he sees light at the end of a dark tunnel.
Helping Parkinson Patients Together With Charco Neurotech
More than 10 million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons disease. Gait disorders such as the occurrence of freeze of gait blockades often lead to sudden falls. In many cases, this means further injuries for patients, as falls often lead to serious fractures .
External pacemakers Cueing
It has been clinically proven that Parkinsons patients can alleviate these motor difficulties by means of external stimuli so-called cue signs. Not only the freezing of the gait can be treated by cueing. In a single-blind study by Marchese R et al. a group that used cues was compared with a control group that received conventional physiotherapy. At the end of the therapy program, positive motor improvements could only be seen in the group treated with external cues.
The company Charco Neurotech aims to use external stimuli to improve the quality of life of people with Parkinsons.
Their medical technology product CUE1 is worn on the body by people with Parkinsons and uses vibratory stimulation to alleviate motor difficulties. The innovative device can optionally be connected to an app, which provides helpful recommendations such as alerting patients to their prescribed medication time.
Charco Neurotech: charconeurotech.com
Learning more through stappone research!
Promising first results
Kimmeskamp, S. and Hennig, E., 2001. Heel to toe motion characteristics in Parkinson patients during free walking. Clinical Biomechanics, 16, pp.806-812.
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A New Academic Collaboration
The team will now work with academics at QMUL on research as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership , a programme by Innovate UK which offers companies substantial funding to access academic expertise from universities such as QMUL, Imperial, and others across the UK.
Charco and QMUL are now searching for a KTP Associate, a talented graduate who will spend time divided between the company and university leading a project to further test the device, optimise its settings and body positioning, and design a formal clinical trial.
Lucy Jung, CEO and co-founder of Charco, said: We could not be more happy to be working together with QMUL on this project. Working with such an institution and leaders in the world of Parkinson’s will be instrumental and invaluable in translating research and development to support this intervention. This will help us to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s.
QMUL knowledge base lead, Dr Alastair Noyce, Consultant Neurologist and Clinical Reader in the Wolfson Institute of Population Health said: We are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with Charco Neurotech and investigate the role that the CUE1 device has in treating challenging symptoms of Parkinsons. We know that it is beautifully designed and has yielded benefits for some patients, but now it is time to investigate just how much it can offer to a wider group with Parkinsons.
Industry Partnership To Test The Cue1 Medical Device For Alleviating Parkinsons Symptoms
A 24 month Knowledge Transfer Partnership project between WIPH Preventive Neurology Unit researchers and industry partner, Charco Neurotech, will test the feasibility of CUE1, a novel medical device to relieve symptoms of Parkinsons disease. The Innovate-UK funded project will investigate the tolerability of the device and its effect on clinical outcome measures, assessing optimal stimulation settings and positioning in patients with Parkinsons, with a goal to design a formal clinical trial.
Parkinson’s may be the fastest growing degenerative condition of the nervous system worldwide, with progressive deterioration in movement the most recognisable feature. Drug treatment administered multiple times per day can manage this symptom but over time symptom control is reduced, rendering the patient either immobile or suffering from excessive involuntary movement, and causing significant disability and poor life quality. The CUE1 device, worn on the sternum, uses vibrations and external sensory cues to reduce balance problems, falls, and involuntary muscle movements, and to improve dexterity. Efficacy and tolerability need to be demonstrated in a clinical setting before the device can be widely ‘prescribed’, and Preventive Neurology Unit clinical expertise will shape the design of an intervention study to assess the real clinical effects.
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Diy: Using Visual Cues To Live Better With Pd
A person with Parkinsons disease may experience visual, cognitive and mobility challenges as symptoms progress or as side effects from certain medications. Compromised vision can make it difficult to distinguish objects, perceive depth and safely maneuver a space while cognitive changes may make previously automated tasks more cumbersome.
Visual cues, however, can help a person with PD stay on track. See how members of our PD community have embraced color to train their brains:
Charco Neurotech Cue: Prof James Kilner
In this exclusive interview, Charco Neurotech spoke to Professor James Kilner of the Human Motor Neuroscience department at Queens Square, University College of London, about the theoretical framework of Active Inference. Professor Kilner explains how this model can be applied to the symptoms of Parkinsons and describes the latest scientific research investigating and explaining the mechanism of action of sensorimotor neuromodulation therapies like focussed vibrotactile stimulation.
Charco Neurotech, a UK-based medical device company, are combining this high frequency vibrotactile stimulation with cueing, in order to alleviate motor symptoms of Parkinsons. The result of this is the CUE1, a novel, non-invasive medical device that is currently at various stages of clinical trials worldwide, with a full-scale randomised control trial in the planning phase. These aim to validate earlier findings and further develop the scientific and clinical knowledge of non-invasive neuromodulation therapies. In addition, a new project funded by Innovate UK will see Charco partner with Queen Mary University of London to learn more about the CUE1 in a clinical setting.
Many thanks to Professor Kilner for this interview. To find out more about the science behind the CUE1, please click here.
To read Charco Neurotech publications and to learn more about our user testing testing rounds, please click here.
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