Personal stories often lay the foundation for groundbreaking innovations. Such is the case with Myelin-H, a pioneering Luxembourg company building a cutting-edge neuro technology solution to remotely monitor and treat brain disorders, starting with multiple sclerosis (MS).
“My mom suffers from MS, and I wanted to help her regain mobility or at least better manage her disease,” states Zied Tayeb, founder and CEO of Myelin-H. Following his PhD in neuroscience, he created Myelin-H together with other cofounders.
The technology that we are developing is what motivates me.
“We have ‘gamified’ neuroscience. Patients play brief cognitive games, and we stimulate the brain in different ways and observe how it reacts to these stimuli. Thereafter, we process the data and translate it into what we call ‘digital biomarkers’ to help physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, effectively manage and monitor MS at any time and from anywhere.”
Responsible data privacy protocols
A critical aspect of Myelin-H’s work involves dealing with various types of medical data that helps to paint a comprehensive picture of a patient’s condition, allowing for more accurate assessments and treatment plans. “Essentially, we amass data that provides a holistic view of the entire body, spanning from brain functions down to lower limb activities. We capture various bio signals and work with primarily medical data, for example, EEG readings that capture brain activity in a non-intrusive manner, speech patterns, EMG signals that reflect muscle activity, and IMU records of body movements,” he explains.
The data does not leave the patients’ premises.
In order to ensure that patient data remains secure and private, Myelin-H has also embraced “federated learning”, a decentralised approach for training machine learning models. “This means that the data does not leave the patients’ premises. We share our machine learning models and whenever a new neurological assessment session takes place – so when the patient plays the games using our sensors and tablet – we get notified. However, the data is processed locally, and we only receive the trained models and not the data, which remains where it has been recorded.”
This method of managing data not only safeguards sensitive information but also places Myelin-H at the forefront of data privacy practices. “There have been a few studies on this federated learning approach, but most of them are recent from 2022. To the best of our knowledge, this concept has not been tested before and I think we are ahead of the curve.”
Luxembourg ecosystem partners
Myelin-H has thrived within Luxembourg’s supportive ecosystem. Dr Tayeb highlights the support from national innovation agency Luxinnovation, the Ministry of the Economy, and the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), among others, to advance the take-off of the innovative solution.
“In Luxembourg, the ecosystem is small enough to know the right doors to knock and you are very well connected,” he indicates, regarding business and research undertakings.
A project by a consortium composed of Myelin-H, the University of Luxembourg, the Bioinformatics Group, and Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), centres on monitoring the silent progression of MS, for example, gradual cognitive decline. It seeks to test 6G for the remote monitoring technology, offering hope for earlier intervention. “This can offer faster, more rapid communication,” he underlines.
The ecosystem is small enough to know the right doors to knock and you are very well connected.
Together with LIST and local hospital CHL, the company is preparing another project with the ambitious goal to develop a software-as-a-medical-device that can monitor treatment effectiveness and response in MS patients. With over 25 different medications currently available for MS, the one-size-fits-all approach falls short. Dr Tayeb emphasises the importance of personalising treatment for each patient.
“We set up this partnership with the hope that we will be monitoring MS treatment effectiveness at home. LIST plays an important role in this project as they are helping with cybersecurity and the CHL will stand in as a clinical partner.” The CEO aims to submit this project in response to a second joint call for high performance computing projects launched by the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy, FNR and Luxinnovation to provide companies and research centres with funding for their joint projects. “All of these is just a drop in the ocean of the support we have received so far if I’m being honest,” he adds.
Beyond my personal story, there are approximately three million MS patients suffering around the world that stand to benefit from this technology.
Dr Tayeb’s personal motivation fuels a drive that transcends typical business motivations. “The big hope that at some point my mum would be using the technology that we are developing is what motivates me. But obviously, beyond my personal story, there are approximately three million MS patients suffering around the world that stand to benefit from this technology. It is a tough brain disorder that stays up for 30 years, and disability is unavoidable unless you get the right treatment early on. And we’re hoping that this is just starting point. If our technology works for multiple sclerosis, we would potentially be in a position to broaden the scope and cover other brains disorders.”