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CNTM // Centre of New Technologies for Medicine

The Centre of New Technologies for Medicine (CNTM) develops new medical diagnostic techniques with special emphasis on the area of eye fundus imaging.

The prevalence of eye diseases leading to vision loss such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma is increasing globally as the numbers of older people increase in populations around the world. Until recently, medical science had little to offer but with the advent of new medical therapies more patients are given the hope of slowing or arresting visual decline, and in some situations it is now even possible to recuperate the vision loss.

Fundus imaging is needed for early and accurate diagnosis, to guide the initiation of therapy and to evaluate the response to therapy of retinal diseases. The eye is also viewed as a window to the body. New developments in fundus imaging offer new and particularly attractive perspectives for predicting development of systemic diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke. Non-invasive fundus imaging to evaluate the entire human circulation is a major goal of the ongoing research projects of this unit, side-by-side with the use of the eye as a window for the brain.

CNTM has developed the concept of Multimodal Macula Mapping, has also developed in-house a software Retmarker® which is available in the market and that provides information to monitor the progression of retinal diseases and has been developing new tools to correlate information obtained from sequential fundus imaging and automatic lesion detection.

The process of technology transfer is really initiated by innovation at the laboratory level well before the development of applications that can be later on tested in clinical studies. This research has led to R&D contracts with Industry.

The work developed in CNTM led to the following international patents:

- Ocular Fluorometer for Clinical Use, US Patent n.º 6,013,034

- Method and Apparatus for Measuring Quantity of a Fluorochrome in a Biological Environment, WO/2008/067525

- System for Analysing Ocular Fundus Images, US Patent n.º 7,856,135

Areas of expertise

  • Development of non-invasive, methodologies for the measurement of Blood-Retinal Barrier (BRB) permeability and vascular occlusion in the human retina based on Optical Coherence Tomography
  • Multimodal Macular Mapping. The gathering of information obtained through various imaging techniques in order to establish a correlation between various parameters of the retina providing this way a global vision of the ongoing alterations as well as its space-time relation
  • Automatic analysis of medical images. The application of the most recent processing/analytical techniques of medical images to the various types of eye fundus imaging, offers new perspectives on the subject, facilitating registration and follow-up in the daily medical practice
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