Bioelectric medicine involves the use of implanted devices that stimulate targeted nerves within natural signaling pathways in order to achieve a therapeutic effect.
Neuromodulation can aid with the unmet needs of several diseases, including heart failure, hypertension, inflammation, asthma, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes. There are also novel approaches that aim to intervene with the neuronal signaling that is involved with cancer progression. Overall, this type of therapy may hold potential for health conditions that conventional pharmaceutical treatments cannot appropriately manage.
This innovative approach utilizes bioelectricity as a fundamental unit of communication within the body, with bioelectric signals traveling through the nervous system in order to carry critical messages that ultimately control the functionality of organs. The electronic signals consist of information that can be recorded and combined with neural digital therapies, which can then be used to achieve a controlled therapeutic effect.
There are many diseases and conditions that can be targeted by bioelectronic therapies. An example includes an implantable electrode that targets the CNS [central nervous system] for the treatment of traumatic and neurodegenerative disorders known as deep brain stimulation (DBS), which first gained Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 1997 for an essential tremor in Parkinson's disease. DBS can also be used to target pain, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, and major depression.
Another target comprises the spinal cord, for example, to relieve chronic pain. The FDA approved a spinal cord stimulation system by Nevro Corporation in 2018, which applies electrical pulses to the spinal cord via a battery-powered generator that is implanted below the skin in order to relieve chronic pain.