2016 European Inventor Award for Pr Benabid, founder of Clinatec

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Notre indépendance c

EVENT – On Thursday 9th June, the founder of Clinatec, Professor Alim-Louis Benabid, from Grenoble, was awarded the 2016 European Inventor Award, in the research category, for his work on deep brain stimulation. A discovery that has enabled the development of a brain pacemaker for Parkinson’s patients. The result of a scientific journey, marked by a struggle of almost 30 years, against Parkinson’s disease.



Alim-Louis Benabid. © Office européen des brevets

Alim-Louis Benabid receives the 2016 European Inventor Award, in the cate­gory of research, on 9th June, 2016. © OEB

Awarded the 2016 European Inventor prize, on 9th June, in Lisbon, for his work on deep brain sti­mu­la­tion, Grenoble’s Professor Alim-Louis Benabid has already recei­ved a num­ber of other medals.


The most pro­minent ? The 2014 Albert Lasker Foundation prize – often des­cri­bed as the final hurdle before the Nobel – on the basis of “the great bene­fit this dis­co­very has brought to man­kind.”


It must be said that this engi­neer and phy­si­cian, mem­ber of the Academy of Sciences, pre­sident of the board of exe­cu­tives of the Grenoble research centre, Clinatec, has revo­lu­tio­ni­zed the treat­ment of Parkinson’s disease.



Electrical stimulation to stop tremor


Along with his col­league, Pierre Pollak, his dis­co­very of deep brain sti­mu­la­tion (DBS) at the end of the 1980s, announ­ced the trans­for­ma­tion of the brain, using tech­no­logy. By inser­ting elec­trodes into a dys­func­tio­nal area of the brain, 100 Hz of elec­tri­cal sti­mu­la­tion stop­ped the tre­mors of a patient, in an asto­ni­shing way. A dis­co­very by Serendipity, imme­dia­tely trans­for­med into a medi­cal appli­ca­tion.


Centre de recherche Clinatec à Grenoble. © Andrea Aubert

Clinatec Research Centre in Grenoble. © Andrea Aubert

Thus, neuro-sti­mu­la­tion – ano­ther name for DBS – enabled the deve­lop­ment of a brain pace­ma­ker that has radi­cally revo­lu­tio­ni­sed the lives of more than 200,000 patients, suf­fe­ring with Parkinson’s disease, world­wide.


Tremors, rigi­dity, and even the aki­ne­sia, i.e., the slow­ness of ini­tia­tion of move­ment, are fini­shed. Pr Benabid, who has mana­ged to free Parkinson’s patients of their move­ment disor­ders, also loved being able to cure them.



In fact, DBS desyn­chro­nises the elec­tri­cal func­tio­ning of nerve cells – or neu­rons – the sub­tha­la­mic nucleus in the par­kin­so­nian brain, but the implan­ta­tion of elec­trodes does not prevent the evo­lu­tion of the patho­logy – in other words, the unti­mely death of neu­rons. Therefore, beyond a cer­tain per­cen­tage of apop­tose – or cel­lu­lar sui­cide, the DBS can do nothing more for patients ; magni­fied symp­toms re-emerge in time.


However, the neu­ro­sur­geon from Grenoble has not said his last word. He now over­sees Clinatec research on the pre­ven­tion tech­no­logy of neu­ro­lo­gi­cal dege­ne­ra­tion in Parkinson’s disease, using light : the NIR pro­ject (Near Infrared). Confident in the result of this research, the natio­nal asso­cia­tion, France Parkinson, dona­ted 130,000 euros to Pr Benabid in 2011, for the launch of the research pro­ject.



Véronique Magnin


Traduction from Speak English Center

Phone : +33 4 76 50 39 79

1 ave­nue du Vercors, 38600 Fontaine FRANCE


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  1. Always the wind of change, always this same fee­ling, thank you Sir MD Benabid and congrats

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