Implantable device speeds up nerve fix

11 Octubre, 2018, 18:22 | Author: Earnest Bishop
  • Implantable, biodegradable devices speed nerve regeneration in rats

"These engineered systems provide active, therapeutic function in a programmable, dosed format and then naturally disappear into the body, without a trace", said Northwestern's John A. Rogers, a pioneer in bio-integrated technologies and a co-senior author of the study.

Peripheral nerve injuries make up 2 to 5 percent of all trauma cases and pose a problem in the public health sector.

This regular pulses which are given after the fix process can accelerate the growth of the nerves in the legs as well as they can enhance the ultimate recovery of muscle strength as well as control.

Experts have been seeking ways to treat the condition, but few treatments have had any dramatic impact.

In the study, a wireless, biodegradable device was inserted into rats that underwent surgical fix, and was programmed to deliver regular pulses of electricity to damaged peripheral nerves, according to Eureka Alert. Others received no electrical stimulation at all. The size of a dime and the thickness of a sheet of paper, the wireless device operates for about two weeks before naturally absorbing into the body.

"We know", notes co-senior study author Dr. Wilson Z. Ray, an associate professor of neurological and orthopedic surgery at Washington University, "that electrical stimulation during surgery helps, but once the surgery is over, the window for intervening is closed". As a result, they found that electrical stimulation sped up the process of nerve regeneration.

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While the device has not been tested in humans, the findings offer promise as a future therapeutic option for nerve injury patients.

At Northwestern, Rogers and his lab spent eight years developing a complete collection of electronic materials, device designs and manufacturing techniques for biodegradable devices with a broad range of options. The ability of the device to degrade eliminates the need for a second procedure to remove the implant, reducing risks associated with surgery as well as with permanent implants, according to the study, which was published in the journal Nature Medicine. The medicine that they have developed is said to be the first example of bioelectronics medicine which is an implantable biodegradable wireless device. It carries signals up and down the lower limbs and controls muscles such as the hamstrings and others in the legs and feet.

Over six days, the devices provided one hour per day of electrical stimulation, or none at all, monitoring recovery for 10 weeks. No adverse biological effects from the device or its reabsorption were found. "Maybe. We're looking into that now".

By varying the composition and thickness of the materials in the device, Rogers and colleagues can control the precise number of days it lasts before disintegrating. New versions can provide electrical pulses for weeks before degrading. So, this new biodegradable medicine is said to be the ideal search as they get dissolve in the body itself, and there is no risk of going for surgery. "With this device, we've shown that electrical stimulation given on a scheduled basis can further enhance nerve recovery". "This notion of transient electronic devices has been a topic of deep interest in my group for almost 10 years - a grand quest in materials science, in a sense".

Reference: Koo, J., MacEwan, M. R., Kang, S. -K., Won, S. M., Stephen, M., Gamble, P., ...

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