Many people pay lip service to multidisciplinary this and convergence that, but François Berger is the real deal. A professor of oncology at Grenoble University Hospital (CHU), Berger is also Director of Clinatec, a biomedical research centre on the Minatec campus in Grenoble, France, where research and technology organisation Leti is located. I briefly spoke with Berger while attending Leti’s Annual Review. Much of our conversation revolved around the imminent opening of Clinatec’s dedicated facility.
Clinatec was launched in 2006, notes Berger, to conduct research into the use of micro and nanotechnologies to combat the effects of cerebral and neurodegenerative diseases. To this end, Clinatec brings together physicians, researchers and engineers. These teams have been scattered about the Minatec campus in temporary facilities. In September, they will converge in a rather remarkable space that combines preclinical and clinical platforms, a microtechnology lab and state-of-the-art neurosurgical operating room under one roof.
The proximity of people and processes will create a new dynamic, says Berger. “We have a unique conjunction of technologists and engineers, biologists and practitioners within Clinatec,” he says. “Having patients nearby is a novel opportunity to bring advances in micro and nanotechnologies to the bedside.” Conventional hospitals are under pressure to move patients through the system carefully but quickly. The more measured pace that research requires is a luxury that many healthcare facilities can no longer afford.
Berger is looking forward to continuing to optimise Clinatec’s research in deep brain stimulation and brain computer interface studies within the new facility. He is also eager to investigate the numerous technologies developed by Leti that have never been applied to medical technology. It’s just one more example of the opportunities for cross fertilisation available in this environment, notes Berger.Norbert Sparrow