Scientists from US claimed that they have developed world’s first bioelectronic medicine which is implantable, biodegradable wireless device that speeds nerve regeneration and improves healing of damaged nerve. The device has not been tested in humans, but its successful testing on animals (rats) offer promise as future therapeutic option for nerve injury patients.
The bioelectronic medicine device is wireless is powered and controlled wirelessly by transmitter outside body that acts much like cellphone-charging mat. It operates for about two weeks before naturally absorbing into the body. It has size of dime and thickness of sheet of paper.
During its animal test on rats with injured sciatic nerves, it was found that this bioelectronic medicine device delivers regular pulses of electricity to damaged peripheral nerves in rats after surgical repair process. This results in accelerating regrowth of nerves in their legs and enhances ultimate recovery of muscle strength and control.
Advantages of Bioelectronic medicine
This biomedical technology provides therapy and treatment over clinically relevant period of time and directly at site where it is needed, thereby reducing side effects or risks associated with conventional, permanent implants. Moreover, these engineered systems provide active, therapeutic function in programmable, dosed format and then naturally disappear into body, without trace.
With this device, it has been shown that electrical stimulation given on scheduled basis during surgery can further enhance nerve recovery. No adverse biological effects from device and its reabsorption were found. Researchers envision that such transient engineered technologies one day can complement or replace pharmaceutical treatments for a variety of medical conditions in humans.