Boston, Massachusetts – Micro-Leads Inc. is among three recipients around the world awarded $1 million to develop an advanced bioelectronic 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.
Micro-Leads recently launched an Acti-Stim wireless pulse generator and will build upon 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 Dr. Stephen J. Lewis of Case Western Reserve University to advance into the final stage of the Challenge. Dr. Lewis’ team in collaboration with Dr. Yee-Hsee Hsieh, also of Case Western Reserve University, will perform physiology studies in hypertensive rats in order to understand the patterns of electrical activity within the carotid sinus nerve that are associated with the development of hypertension, which plagues approximately 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,” said Dr. Stephen J. Lewis. “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.
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About Micro-Leads Inc:
Micro-Leads Inc is an early-stage medical device company who is 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.
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Marc Kaplan, 216-368-4692
Chia Chia Hu, 617-358-2210