Prometeus (Preterm Brain-Oxygenation and Metabolic EU-Sensing: Feed the Brain) is a project aimed at introducing a new-paradigm for personalized nutrition of prematurely born neonates in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). It will develop a groundbreaking technology for real-time adjustment of glucose and nutrients intakes to target neonatal brain needs. The brain of a baby born prematurely is highly susceptible to early neonatal injuries that, in turn, increase the risk for neurodevelopmental disability. Provision of adequate nutrients and oxygen is essential for proper brain development and growth. However, current nutritional strategies are unfit to target real-time brain necessities, and are driven by pre- specified (non personalised) nutritional charts, in the absence of contemporary cot-side monitoring of both brain “health” and metabolic supplies. As a consequence, sudden changes of brain fuel-requirements cannot be promptly addressed by real-time adjustment of glucose and nutrients provision.

Prometeus will develop a metabolic model of the interaction between the three key brain fuels and their effect on cerebral blood flow, oxygenation and metabolism. The model will serve to individualize brain nutrition targeting “brain health” according to the inputs derived from two novel minimally invasive metabolic sensing systems: a wearable cap measuring cerebral blood flow, oxygenation and metabolism, and a subcutaneous miniaturized metabolic sensor for the three key brain fuels. The system will create a metabolic “womb” to feed the brain of preterm neonates. Prometeus will be paralleled by a parent- dedicated interface, exploiting a purposely developed family adjusted visual language, that will inform parents of preterm babies during their NICU admission and stay. Prometeus will dramatically reduce the risk for prematurity-associated disability in Europe and worldwide, with a consequent incalculable ethical, social and economic impact.

Funded by the European Innovation Council (EIC) under the Pathfinder Open call, Prometeus is a multidisciplinary and challenging project, involving 11 partners in 6 different countries (France, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom).