Wayne State technology uses infrared light to prevent brain damage in heart attack victims

Wayne State University research led by Maik Huettemann, Ph.D., professor in the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine, and Thomas Sanderson, Ph.D. formerly of Wayne State and currently at the the University of Michigan, has resulted in a novel approach to reduce ischemia-reperfusion injury. The generation of free radicals upon restoration of blood supply after a period of oxygen deprivation, such as in heart attack and stroke, results in ischemic brain damage.  More than 80% of surviving cardiac arrest patients will experience neurological deficits.

The research team identified a combination of specific wavelengths of infrared light that minimize cellular damage during oxygen reperfusion. Mitovation, Inc. was launched to commercialize the non-invasive therapeutic device. Use of the device has been demonstrated to reduce post-ischemic brain damage, improve cell survival and improve neurological outcomes.

Building on funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Wayne State Technology Commercialization Office has provided funding and mentorship for development of the early stage technology through “proof-of concept” funding and a $100,000 award from the WSU/MEDC MTRAC program.

A postdoctoral Innovation fellow worked closely with Mark Morsfield, at the time a Mentor-in- Residence in the Technology Commercialization office, to develop the commercialization roadmap and business model. Morsfield, along with Drs. Huettemann and Sanderson subsequently founded the company and licensed the technology from Wayne State. The company received a $1.7 million Small Business Technology Transfer Fast Track Award from the National Institutes of Health, and is currently raising private investment to support continued prototype development and FDA submission.

For more information about Mitovation, Inc., visit here.   

Contact info

Julie O'Connor

Director, Research Communications
Phone: 313-577-8845
Email: julie.oconnor@wayne.edu