Kick-off Annemarie Tulleken Observership

During the festivities of BTI's 5 year anniversary we celebrated the kick-off of the Annemarie Tulleken Observership.

This international traveling observership program provides promising, young neurosurgeons the opportunity to visit the Departments of Neurosurgery at the following Institutions:

·      University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands

·      University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland

·      University of Toronto, Canada

·      Lenox Hill Hospital, NY, USA

This observership is dedicated to and named after the late wife of Prof. C.A.F. Tulleken, founding father of the ELANA technique. With this international observership program the Brain Technology Institute is carrying out Mrs. Annemarie Tulleken’s wish to continue with meaningful scientific work. It is also part of BTI's mission to drive education, since this program will help create a new generation of vascular neurosurgeons that have an interest and the skills to treat patients with life threatening diseases through state-of-the-art technologies. Through the Annemarie Tulleken Traveling Observership the Participant is allowed to visit four institutions during a period of 12 months. 

The honor of the first neurosurgeon to obtain this Annemarie Tulleken Fellowship goes to Dr. Tristan van Doormaal, Phd, neurosurgeon at UMC Utrecht. Tristan did his PhD research on the Elana technique prior to joining the staff of the department of Neurosurgery in Utrecht. He has been an invaluable asset to the BTI research activities during the past years, therefore the BTI board unanimously decided the 1st fellowship should go to Tristan. The next rounds of the Annemarie Tulleken Fellowship, starting in 2019, will be eligible to any qualified neurosurgeon internationally. Submission criteria will be communicated in 2018.

Claartje Ypma - Tristan van Doormaal - Prof. C.A.F. Tulleken

Claartje Ypma - Tristan van Doormaal - Prof. C.A.F. Tulleken

BTI celebrates 5 year anniversary

Today we celebrate that BTI was founded on December 14, 2012. During the past 5 years we have expanded our research activities and our team and we look forward bringing new neurosurgical technologies to the market in the coming years. 

Research to new dura sealant results in large grant for clinical trial

Great news for the whole team following the collaboration between BTI and Polyganics on the Research & Development of a new dura sealant.

Below read Polyganics' Press Release, which can also be found here.

Polyganics awarded €1.2 million to complete clinical development of dura sealant patch

First-in-human clinical studies of the device expected to begin in early 2018

Groningen, The Netherlands, 1 December 2017 – Polyganics, a privately held medical technology company that develops, manufactures and commercializes bioresorbable medical devices, today announced it has been awarded funding from the European Fund for Regional Development (ERDF) by the European Union, to support clinical validation of its dura sealant patch. The grant, together with contributions from the city and province of Groningen, totals EUR 1.2 million. 

The device has been developed using Polyganics’ proprietary bioresorbable polymers, creating a dressing suitable for resealing the outer membrane (‘dura’) surrounding the brain after brain surgery, minimizing leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The dressing has been engineered to encourage tissue regeneration, and to degrade naturally and safely within the body over time, once the membrane has healed. Polyganics is developing its dura sealant patch under a collaboration with the Brain Technology Institute (BTI), located in Utrecht, and Syncom, a contract research organisation located in Groningen. 

Following recently completed animal studies of the dura sealant patch, Polyganics is currently finalizing preparations for the start of a clinical study, to demonstrate safety and performance in humans. 

Rudy Mareel, CEO of Polyganics, commented: “We are hugely appreciative to the EU, as well as the city and province of Groningen for their support in progressing the device into the next phase of its development. The grant is a great recognition of the potential of this application of our synthetic polymers, and we are pleased to have benefitted from the skills and expertise of both the BTI and Syncom in its development. The work has important implications for improved recovery following brain surgery, including helping to prevent potentially fatal complications such as meningitis.” 

Dr Tristan van Doormaal, a neurosurgeon at the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), and leader of the research project at BTI, commented: “This is a completely novel approach to reducing CSF leakage following brain surgery. The recent successful animal studies of the dura sealant patch were very promising, and we expect to see similarly positive results in humans in the clinical studies next year.” 

About the dura sealant patch

CSF leakage is one of the most common complications of neurosurgical procedures. Estimated incidence of any type of CSF leakage is in total 10%-15% of all intradural neurosurgical procedures. In approximately 25-50% of all intradural neurosurgical procedures, any adjunct to dural sealing is used to prevent CSF leakage and to allow the dura to heal after surgery. If the quality of dural closure is improved, complications associated with CSF leakage, including meningitis, pseudomeningoceles, impaired wound healing, and subgaleal fluid collection, could be reduced. Effectively sealing dural incisions during surgery is therefore important because it may prevent CSF leakage and related complications. 

A Night at the Moco

On Thursday May 17th we organized an unique charity event to raise funds for BTI in collaboration with Salon Heleen Hulsmann, Couleurs de Géraldine, TERTIUS | Objets d'Art, Derma2Care, Wijnkoperij De Gouden Ton and QP Exclusieve Horloges. The event took place in the beautiful Moco Museum in Amsterdam that was especially opened after hours for the occasion.

The partners offered exclusive products and services in the field of art, fashion, jewelry, design and skin care and a large part of the proceeds went to BTI.  Margitte Verwoerdt of International Auction house Bonhams auctioned top items of the collection of the partners, including a work of art by Banksy, a Hermès bracelet,  a winetasting event and ‘Be a neurosurgeon for a day’ . The winner of this last mentioned lot will join neurosurgeon Prof. A. van der Zwan for a full day on his activities and observe a surgery in UMC Utrecht.

‘A Night at the Moco’ was an incredible and successful charity event. We would like to thank the following sponsors for making this night a success: American Express, Baker McKenzie, Walter&Roland,  Delicious Dishes and all partners.

Through fundraising events like this we can pursue the mission of BTI, namely ‘Improving the quality of life of people with neurovascular diseases’.

Speed4care / i4talent races voor BTI!


'About i4talent/Speed4Care'
i4talent is a Dutch secondment company that is specialized in financial and data professionals and was founded by Danielle Kleyheeg. Danielle’s passion for car racing resulted in a program called Speed4Care. The goal of this program is to raise money for charities through car racing and rally’s. Together with her colleague Jessica van der Kist, commercial director at i4talent who shares the same passion for car racing and Danielle, they make an outstanding race couple. They have participated in various car races and they have been a team in the famous 'Tulpen Rallye' for several years.

'Cooperation Brain Technology Institute (BTI) & i4talent/Speed4care'
The cooperation between BTI & i4talent is an idea of Marjolein van der Kist and her sister Jessica. Marjolein is working at BTI and came in touch with the organization because of her experience as a patient who successfully underwent a bypass surgery twice. She personally discovered how important it is that people like her, with a rare vascular malformation in the brain, can be helped. This experience had a lot of impact, not just of Marjolein’s life, but also on that of her family and friends. This season, Jessica and Danielle are going to race for BTI!

'Racing & Neurosurgery'
Despite that fact that racing and neurosurgery are seemingly two completely different disciplines, there are also quite some similarities. For example, in both disciplines training and precision is extremely important. Also, both in neurosurgery and in car racing the circumstances vary constantly. And, in both cases it is all about the outcome!

Therefore,  the month of May 2017 will be fully dedicated to racing in order to raise funds for BTI. The goal isto raise € 5.000 in order to further develop the lifesaving ELANA-technique developed by BTI. The Elana procedure is designed to make traditional bypass procedures safer and easier, and to enable minimally-invasive bypass surgery. However, there is still a (small) group of patients that is eligible for an Elana bypass, but cannot be treated with this technique because of the fact that the size of their blood vessel where the bypass needs to be placed is too small. The proceeds of the activities of Speed4care for BTI will be used to manufacture and test these new tools and to develop this technique.

Follow us on Social media @BTI_NL & @i4talent and stay tuned for more exciting news and events!

Interview Bart van der Zwan ter gelegenheid van zijn aanstelling tot Hoogleraar

Hoogleraar vasculaire neurochirurgie:

“Nieuwe techniek scheelt al gauw twee uur opereren”

De leerstoel was even vacant, maar sinds deze maand is Bart van der Zwan hoogleraar vasculaire neurochirurgie. Hij gaat zich aan de ene kant inzetten voor technische ontwikkelingen waardoor operaties minder ingrijpend worden en aan de andere kant op meer samenwerking tussen verschillende specialisten. Niet alleen in het UMC Utrecht, maar ook nationaal en internationaal. “Door het opzetten en onderhouden van goede netwerken kunnen we veel meer van elkaars kennis profiteren.”

Van der Zwan is geen nieuwkomer in het UMC Utrecht. “Nee, eigenlijk ben ik een plakker”, stelt hij lachend vast. Hij studeerde in Utrecht, is er gepromoveerd, volgde de opleiding tot neurochirurg en – na een uitstapje in enkele andere ziekenhuizen – werkt hij hier sinds 1996 als vasculair neurochirurg.

Hij heeft dan ook alle ontwikkelingen in zijn vakgebied op de voet kunnen volgen. De belangrijkste: “de aneurysma’s die wij behandelen worden steeds ingewikkelder”. Een aneurysma is een uitstulping in de slagader. Als die in de hersenslagader zit en knapt is er sprake van een hersenbloeding. De meeste patiënten die voor een aneurysma worden behandeld, komen tegenwoordig bij de neuro-radioloog terecht die de coiling-techniek toepast. Hierbij vult de radioloog met een katheter via de lies, het aneurysma met dunne draadjes. Op die manier stroomt het bloed niet meer door maar langs het aneurysma door de slagader en stolt het aneurysma meestal dicht. In het UMCU ondergaat ongeveer zeventig procent van de patiënten met een gebloed aneurysmazo’n coiling. “Wij opereren alleen patiënten met meeringewikkelde aneurysma’s.”

En ook voor die ingewikkelde aneurysma’s raken de technieken steeds verfijnder. Zo werkt Van der Zwan al enige tijd aan de optimalisatie van de Elana-techniek. Met deze in het UMC Utrecht ontwikkelde techniek is het al jaren mogelijk om een bypass in de hersenen te maken, zonder de bloedsomloop te onderbreken. Dat laatste is essentieel in de hersenen. Bij deze techniek wordt een ringetje op een bloedvat gehecht. “Nu zijn we bezig met een variant waarbij het ringetje min of meer op het bloedvat wordt vastgeklikt. Dit maakt het hechten overbodig, wat al gauw twee uur opereren scheelt. Na veel onderzoek en ontwikkeling loopt er nu een studie waarin we deze techniek – Selana - in patiënten testen.”

Een ander onderzoek dat Van der Zwan wil starten is in hoeverre patiënten met een afgesloten halsslagader baat hebben bij een bypass. Nu krijgen deze mensen meestal geen neurochirurgische behandeling omdat een van de andere slagaderen de bloedvoorziening van de hersenen vaak overneemt. Een trial van zeven jaar geleden liet zien dat niet behandelen betere resultaten oplevert dan een bypass. Van der Zwan twijfelt er aan of dat voor alle patiënten geldt. “Op de eerste plaats zijn er wat kanttekeningen bij dat onderzoek te zetten en op de tweede plaats kom ik in de praktijk mensen tegen die meerdere tia’s per dag hebben. Hun bloedvoorziening schiet duidelijk te kort. Ik denk dat zij wel baat hebben bij een bypass. In dit onderzoek wil ik onder meer met nieuwe beeldvormende technieken de bloedvoorziening van de hersenen van deze patiënten in beeld brengen. Als de andere slagaderen de bloedvoorziening inderdaad goed overnemen is behandelen niet nodig. Maar wanneer de bloedvoorziening zichtbaar tekort schiet, moeten we misschien adviseren wel te behandelen.”

Een laatste plan van de nieuwe hoogleraar in de nabije toekomst is het verder versterken van de samenwerking met andere specialisten. “Niet alleen in het UMC Utrecht, maar ook nationaal en internationaal.” Hiervoor is hij lid en voorzitter van verschillende nationale en internationale commissies. “Nog niet zo lang geleden bevochten neurologen, neurochirurgen en vasculair neurochirurgen elkaar min of meer over wat tot wiens terrein behoorde. Nu zijn we steeds vaker zo ver dat we onze kennis delen, met elkaar discussiëren of patiënten bespreken. We moeten van elkaars kennis profiteren om zo voor iedere patiënt tot de beste behandeling te komen.’

The first 'Brain Campaign' Auction is closed

Friday January 22nd, the Catawiki auction went live, following a great and successful opening of the 'international contemporary art auction'.  The auction continued through Saturday January 30th and due to its success, it was followed with an after-sale. Fifty percent of the proceeds went to our non-profit organisation and 50% went to the artist. Catawiki has very generously waived their sellers' commission for this auction. So it is a win-win: people can buy high-end contemporary art and the proceeds directly benefit our research! 

In the near future we will inform you on further collaborations with Catawiki.

                                                                             Piet Paris                                        Andre van Noord


On January 22, 2016 at 7pm the online art auction of the Brain Technology Institute will start in collaboration with Catawiki with work from e.g. Jan Cremer, Damien Hirst, Piet Paris and Elspeth Diederix. We invite you for the festive launch and viewing of the first BTI Brain Campaign. Our auctioneers will be present to guide you to place the first bids. The auction runs until Saturday January 30, 8 pm.

The majority of the proceeds will go to BTI in Utrecht. This non-profit organization conducts groundbreaking research and develops devices to treat patients with life-threatening, rare brain diseases for whom there is no safe alternative treatment option.

Festive launch and viewing:

January 22, 2016 at 7pm


Lebowski Publishers, Paul van Vlissingenstraat 18, Amsterdam

RSVP by January 20th through

Visit this event with art, music by DJ Trish Trash, guest speakers, bites & bubbles and more surprises.

See you then,


Claartje Ypma, BTI

Manuela Klerkx, Klerkx I.A.M.