Bioelectronic medicine may soon replace systemic drugs for treating some chronic conditions. The clinician will implant a miniature laboratory to deliver and coordinate a multi-modal treatment program directly at the affected tissue. The technology to bring this vision to the clinic is not yet available.
The IntegraBrain project will contribute by building an implantable network of sensors and actuators. Actuators will deploy electricity, light, drugs and thermal energy as modalities of the therapeutic program, while sensors will monitor its progress. A key technological advance will be a method for direct writing of the sensor-actuator network. To achieve this, we will develop a palette of functional inks where each ink supports one of the therapeutic modalities.
The technology has the potential to be tailored for applications in soft tissue organs, especially in the nervous system, where injury or degeneration can result in chronic disability. We will apply IntegraBrain technology in two niches of the nervous system in rodents. In the central nervous system, we will demonstrate seizure control by multi-modal neuromodulation. In the peripheral nervous system, we will demonstrate reversible block and excitation. For the first time, we will observe if multi-modal neuromodulation leads to synergistic effects on the nervous system.
With the IntegraBrain project, we hope to catalyse pre-clinical development of implantable human-machine interfaces for therapeutic applications.
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