Lab Canada

Brain imaging system developer wins US defense research contract

Vancouver, BC – VSM MedTech, which develops magnetoencephalography (MEG) systems for functional brain imaging, says it has been awarded a research contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the central research and development organization for the United States department of defense.

Under the contract, VSM will perform research to explore the possibility that MEG signals from the human brain can be retrieved with sufficient spatial and temporal resolution to permit non-invasive access to neural codes associated with the movement of limbs.

The company says the contract amounts to US$1.47 million. The contract will be administered through the Canadian Commercial Corporation as part of DARPA’s human-assisted neural devices program, the goal of which is to develop the scientific foundation for novel concepts that will lead to technologies for enhancing the quality of life of paralyzed veterans through the neural control of prosthetic devices.

“While we remain intently focused on driving the expansion of clinical markets for our MEG technology, this agreement with DARPA will allow us to strengthen our technical capabilities and accelerate the future development of our core technology," says Jack Price, the company’s chief executive officer.

The company says it will collaborate on the project with researchers at Brown University, led by Dr Jerome Sanes, professor of neuroscience, and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), led by Dr Richard Coppola, director of the MEG core facility. Researchers at VSM will analyze the MEG measurements to derive signals representing brain activity, and Brown University staff will develop procedures to interpret these signals in terms of the subjects’ actions.