Bioelectronic medicines: a research roadmap.

Author: Birmingham K1, Gradinaru V2, Anikeeva P3, Grill WM4, Pikov V5, McLaughlin B6, Pasricha P7, Weber D8, Ludwig K9, Famm K1.
1Bioelectronics R&D, GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2NY, UK. 2California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA. 3Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA. 4Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708-0281, USA. 5Huntington Medical Research Institutes, Pasadena, California 91105, USA. 6The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA. 7Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Ross 958 Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA. 8Biological Technology Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia 22203, USA. 9National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, North Bethesda, Maryland, 20852, USA.
Conference/Journal: Nat Rev Drug Discov.
Date published: 2014 Jun
Other: Volume ID: 13 , Issue ID: 6 , Pages: 399-400 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1038/nrd4351 , Word Count: 180

PMID: 24875080

Realizing the vision of a new class of medicines based on modulating the electrical signalling patterns of the peripheral nervous system needs a firm research foundation. Here, an interdisciplinary community puts forward a research roadmap for the next 5 years.

With the rapid rise in technology for the precision detection and modulation of electrical signalling patterns in the nervous system, a new class of treatments known as bioelectronic medicines seems within reach1. Specifically, the peripheral nervous system will be at the centre of these advances, as the functions it controls in chronic diseases are extensive and its small number of fibres per nerve renders them more tractable to targeted modulation.

The vision for bioelectronic medicines is one of miniature, implantable devices that can be attached to individual peripheral nerves anywhere in the viscera, extending beyond early clinical examples in hypertension2 and sleep apnoea3. Such devices will be able to decipher and modulate neural signalling patterns, achieving therapeutic effects that are targeted at single functions of specific organs.

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