Injectrode to better treat neurodegenerative diseases

Injectrode to better treat neurodegenerative diseases.
Injectrode to better treat neurodegenerative diseases.(Ivanhoe Newswire)
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:24 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wisc. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - Neuromodulation therapies involve medical devices that can treat several chronic conditions, such as epilepsy, essential tremors, nerve pain, and even Afib. Many of these conditions require surgery, which can be costly and invasive, but what if instead of implanting a device, you could inject it without surgery?

Pacemakers, spinal cord stimulators, and deep brain stimulators are all devices that require tiny electrodes to either be implanted in the brain, the spinal cord, or peripheral nerves to deliver electrical stimulation for medical treatment.

“That’s essentially like taking your cell phone and sticking it in the body. And unfortunately, that is both very costly, but also has to last in the body for 30 years,” Kip Ludwig, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin, explained.

When those devices fail, another surgery will be needed and that’s why researchers are looking at an alternative where clinicians would be able to inject an electrode without the need for surgery. The solution to this dilemma is called the injectrode.

Andrew Shoffstal, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University, said, “This electrically conductive ‘goo’, as we call it, could be injected into the body and it would form an electrically conductive interface with nerve tissue.”

“So instead of having a complex computer in the body that has to last 30 years, we actually make a connection from the surface of the skin to a deep nerve so we can talk to it with a non-invasive device,” Professor Ludwig added.

Thankfully, for patients, this means no surgery, fewer complications and failures, and lower costs. The researchers conducted a trial where the injectrode was implanted for 30 days in patients and found the injectrode was able to communicate with the nervous system for the full-time period with no adverse effects.

Professor Ludwig said that they got a grant from the National Institutes of Health to look at device-based alternatives to opioids when it comes to treating pain. Since the injectrode is non-invasive, their hope is to go through the FDA 510k or Denovo pathway for faster approval within the next two years.

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