BOSTON--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Micro-Leads Inc. is among three recipients around the world awarded $1 million to develop an advanced bioelectronics medicine device for GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Bioelectronics Innovation Challenge. GSK established the Innovation Challenge to provide both funding and an ultimate $1 million prize for the first team to demonstrate the first bioelectronics medicine.
“One critical challenge is also developing tiny electrodes. The specific nerves we are largely targeting have a diameter as fine as a strand of human hair.”
Micro-Leads recently launched an Acti-Stim wireless pulse generator and will build on this technology to create a Stim-Sense implantable device to fulfill the biological effect component of the Challenge’s guidelines. Awards of the GSK innovation Challenge Fund are designated to scientists that are successful in creating implantable devices that can readily program the body’s electrical language.
“We are excited about the potential of the Stim-Sense system. There have been many attempts over the last decade to make an implantable device with sufficient wireless recording and stimulation capabilities in such a small volume,” said Bryan McLaughlin, Micro-Leads founder. “One critical challenge is also developing tiny electrodes. The specific nerves we are largely targeting have a diameter as fine as a strand of human hair.”
Micro-Leads will continue to invest its resources into understanding how modulating electrical stimulation patterns to visceral nerves—which serve as the communication conduit between the brain and organs such as the bladder, liver and heart—will benefit human therapies. The soon-to-be Stim-Sense device will enable researchers to detect how diseases disrupt the communication between the brain and their respective organs.
Micro-Leads is collaborating with Stephen J. Lewis, PhD, of Case Western Reserve University, to advance into the final stage of the Challenge. Lewis’ team, in collaboration with Yee-Hsee Hsieh, PhD, also of Case Western Reserve, will perform physiology studies in hypertensive rats to understand the patterns of electrical activity within the carotid sinus nerve associated with the development of hypertension—which plagues about 75 million Americans—and how modulation of electrical activity within the nerve may affect the outcome of the hypertension.
“As a physiologist, I am excited to be able to use the technology provided by Micro-Leads to explore the inner workings of the carotid sinus nerve, which plays a crucial role in the control of breathing and blood pressure,” Lewis said. “A bioelectronics medicine which could selectively modulate heart function, blood pressure and breathing would help many people worldwide.”
To date, no team has been able to provide naturalistic electrical stimulation, perform electrical “blocking” using kilohertz frequency waveforms, and record nerve signals associated with disease. The GSK Innovation Challenge fund will accelerate technologies that Micro-Leads has already pioneered.
For more information about Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, please visit: http://case.edu/medicine.
About Micro-Leads Inc.:
Micro-Leads Inc. is an early-stage medical device company developing an advanced neuromodulation therapy using high-resolution current-steering technology. Micro-Leads has received funding from DARPA, the National Science Foundation, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and GSK to create a new therapy using advanced neuromodulation technology. For more information, please visit www.micro-leads.com.