People who suffer from chronic pain very often have few options. Even powerful opioid drugs such as OxyContin or Vicodin, even when they do work, carry with them the danger of prescription drug addiction.
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a potential new approach that can blunt or stop pain at its source. The device that the researchers have created can be implanted in the human body and stop pain signals from traveling up the spinal cord before they reach the brain. At least that is the theory.
The device is soft and stretchable and can be implanted at any part of the human body. Unlike previous such devices, it doesn’t need to be anchored to bone tissue. The implant is sutured where it needs to be and uses a micro-LED light to activate targeted neurons. The devices are controlled wirelessly, which removes a complication that beset previous devices that had to be controlled while tethered to a power source. They are small enough to be used at the bladder, stomach, intestines, heart or other organs
The devices have proven to have much promise when tested on specially genetically-modified mice. Just to test how the devices worked, the researchers also sent pain signals as well as inhibited them.
The idea, once the devices enter human trials, is for them to be manufactured in mass quantities and made available for other researchers. For that purpose, the scientists at Washington University School of Medicine have already founded a medical device company called NeuroLux.
For more information contact us.