Saving the brain by keeping cool
Based on decades of research showing that targeted cooling can reduce brain damage, QuickCool's portable intranasal cooling system is in development to protect the brain from damage after cardiac arrest or stroke. The company was founded in 2003 and is based at the Ideon Science Park in Lund, Sweden.
Premature babies or patients who have a heart attack, stroke or other major trauma can develop brain damage through oxygen deprivation. Reducing the temperature of the brain can reduce the impact of the lower levels of oxygen on the delicate brain tissues. QuickCool has developed a device that can cool the brain and body via the nasal cavities, making the most of the rich blood supply and natural heat exchange capabilities.
Portable and cost-efficient
Research in animals carried out in the 1980s showed that cooling could reduce brain damage on models of heart attack and stroke. These findings, and research carried out by the company's founders, fed into the cooling technology behind QuickCool.
The QuickCool system consists of a single use catheter and tubing set attached to the QuickCool unit. The balloon catheters are placed in the nose and expand to fill the nasal cavity as cooled saline circulates, maintaining the patient at precisely 36 ?C for up to 72 hours. The unit is powered by mains electricity or a back-up battery so that cooling can begin in the emergency room and continue through investigations before the patient is settled in the intensive care unit, or even moved to another hospital.
Because cooling with the QuickCool system uses catheters that occupy only the nasal cavities, medical staff still have clear access to the rest of the patient for examination and treatment, including the use of intubation and oxygen masks.
"We plan to carry out a cardiac arrest study in Lund and Malmö before the end of the year, and hope to begin a stroke study in Finland in stroke patients in early 2018," said Fredrik Radencrantz, CEO, QuickCool.
Keeping it cool
With cooling, it may seem that more is better, and some groups are looking at cooling to as low as 32 ?C. However, cooling to 35 ?C or below is an unpleasant experience for a conscious patient, and can trigger shivering, which interferes with treatment and monitoring. These low temperatures can also have serious side effects, as such as immune depression and blood coagulation issues, and can trigger cardiac fibrillation.
Research from the Target Temperature Management (TTM) study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013, showed that cooling to 36 ?C was just as effective as cooling to 33 ?C, with no difference in survival rate or quality of life. This temperature is easier to achieve, and is less risky and unpleasant for patients.
Looking to the future
QuickCool is in the midst of finalising its QuickCool System. Following the third-party and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing, the company will seek approval from the German notified body to apply a CE-mark.
Plans for the launch are in full swing, and these will rely on the years of experience and expertise brought by Radencrantz, who joined the company in 2017. He has worked in medtech and life science sales and marketing for many years, and brings a strong international network of contacts from across the industry.
“The global market for cooling systems is substantial and has an estimated worth of several billion SEK a year with a two-digit growth per annum. Our QuickCool system is tailormade for this growing market and will fit in perfectly with the need for smaller efficient and convenient cooling systems" said Radencrantz.
The QuickCool system will initially be made available in Sweden, and launches across Scandinavia and in the rest of the world will follow, beginning with those where therapeutic cooling is already part of routine clinical care.
"We strongly believe that increasing the volume of simple yet reliable cooling systems can save many more lives all over the world and a simple reliable modern cooling system is exactly what we have developed," concluded Radencrantz.