What is SPiQE?

SPiQE is the brainchild of a collaboration between neurologists at King’s College London and bioengineers at Imperial College London. It combines the very latest in surface electrode technology with sophisticated spike-detection software.

SPiQE functions as an automated analytical pipeline for the detection of spontaneous and voluntary muscle activity. It is non-invasive and well-tolerated by patients. Importantly, this means muscle recordings can be longer than ever before and can be repeated at regular time intervals.

In our Clinical Trials so far, we have focussed on the analysis of fasciculations in motor neuron disease to learn more about this devastating illness.

Photo by Isaac Davis on Unsplash

What is motor neuron disease?

Motor neuron disease causes progressive neurological weakness. It can affect walking, arm function, speech, swallowing and breathing – in any order and at varying speeds. One in 350 people will develop the disease at some point in their lifetime with 1200 new cases diagnosed in the UK each year.

There remains no cure.


How can SPiQE help?

There is an urgent need to learn more about the way motor neurons degenerate, so that potential new therapies can be developed and tested. The search for new disease biomarkers, which can track disease progression, is a key research avenue.

We believe SPiQE can offer a unique insight in this area. To understand why, it’s important to introduce the concepts of ‘motor unit’ and ‘fasciculation’. Visit our Science page to find out more.

Our Funders and Sponsors

The Team

The project was conceived in 2015 by Professors Chris Shaw (King’s), Kerry Mills (King’s), Martyn Boutelle (Imperial) and Manos Drakakis (Imperial).

PhD students Dr James Bashford (King’s) and Mr Aidan Wickham (Imperial) have helped turn those early ideas into reality. Masters students Urooba Masood, Cristina Cabassi and Domen Planinc as well as junior doctors Dr Tom Weddell and Dr Arina Tamborska are the most recent additions to the team. We have so far collaborated with several groups, including Dr Emma Hodson-Tole (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Professor Ping Zhou (University of Texas).

Max Perutz Writing Award

Read this year's entry, which summarises SPiQE in 800 words