Industry Firsts for Brain & VNS Implants

Photo by Fakurian Design on Unsplash

AABM News Roundup: July 2021

Synchron, a 20-person biotech firm, edged out Elon Musk’s Neuralink to win the FDA’s first approval to start human trials for its brain chip. The early feasibility study of their flagship product, Stentrode, will attempt to give paralyzed patients control over a digital interface using their thoughts only.

“Synchron’s north star is to achieve whole-brain data transfer,” Oxley continued. “Our first target is the motor cortex for treatment of paralysis, which represents a large unmet need for millions of people across the world, and market opportunity of $20B.”

Read the full article: “This 20-person biotech firm just beat Elon Musk’s Neuralink in getting the OK to test brain chip implants in humans with paralysis.”

A recently published paper from the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research demonstrated how a long-term implant for vagus nerve stimulation in mice successfully modulated heart rate and inflammatory proteins.

“Because of prior surgical and technological challenges of implanting a stimulator to fit a mouse’s tiny vagus nerve, this new cuff-electrode and outlined surgical procedure is an advancement to conduct more long-term and thorough VNS research. Earlier VNS studies have been limited to short-term stimulation — a timeframe of minutes to hours, whereas the new device can be implanted for at least four weeks.”

Read more here: Long-Term Vagus Nerve Implant Is World First for Bioelectronic Medicine

Other headlines

Corporate News

Neuromodulation and cancer devices feature in latest batch of FDA breakthrough nods. Medtech Dive, July 2, 2021.

  • The FDA has granted breakthrough designations to a set of neuromodulation products, as well as to a clutch of medical devices designed to improve outcomes in cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
  • This approval includes devices to treat epilepsy and intractable pain for amputees.

Feinstein Institutes Receives $3.7M NIH Support for Bioelectronic Medicine Research. Businesswire, May 6, 2021.

  • The organization was awarded a 5-year grant to support research in the molecular basis of bioelectronic medicine
  • The foundation of bioelectronic medicine is basic research in molecular biology, neuroscience and biomedical engineering,” said Dr. Tracey. “The NIH support of this work is essential for translating our science into clinical studies.”

New Frontiers

Long-COVID symptoms improved with neuromodulation. European Pharmaceutical Review, July 9, 2021.

  • A new study suggests that neuromodulation treatment could be a promising therapy to combat the lingering adverse effects some patients are experiencing after their COVID-19 infection has cleared.
  • All 20 patients reported significant improvements in their symptoms such as fatigue and depression.
  • Currently there is no proven treatment for Long COVID

Handheld Device Fights Fatigue by Stimulating Vagus Nerve. IEEE Spectrum, June 20, 2021.

  • Applying electricity to a nerve in the neck with a handheld device can reduce fatigue and improve multitasking in sleep-deprived people, according to a new study conducted on U.S. Air Force volunteers.



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