Wireless Implantable Nerve Stimulation - a NFC based platform for patient driven nerve regeneration

Reference number
Coordinator ÖSTERGÖTLANDS LÄNS LANDSTING - Brännskadeintensivvårdsavdelningen
Funding from Vinnova SEK 600 000
Project duration August 2018 - August 2020
Status Ongoing
Venture Medtech4Health: Innovators in the healthcare sector
Call Medtech4Health: Support for Innovators in Care and Healthcare 2018

Purpose and goal

Peripheral nerve injuries often leads to chronic disability, causing large socio-economic costs. Regeneration of the nerve is very slow and the end result is often unsatisfying. Different methods are used to promote the regeneration of damaged nerves. Low-frequency electrical stimulation of the transected nerve has been shown to accelerate nerve outgrowth across injury sites. So far, nerve stimulation has been limited to only a brief period perioperatively, usually one hour. Longer periods of stimulation may be beneficial but have been difficult to manage in a clinical setting.

Expected results and effects

We will use a wireless implantable platform to enable a daily electrical stimulation of the injured nerve. We believe this regime to considerably speed up reinnervation of the affected organ and thereby shorten the time for rehabilitation. The platform is based on NFC technology and printed electronics on a flexible polymer film. The platform consists of a printed NFC antenna for energy and data transfer. This unit is implanted subcutaneously during surgery and communicates with an ordinary smartphone via its built in NFC chip, which also provides the implant with energy.

Planned approach and implementation

The development of the technology takes place in several stages. Initially, the platform (antenna and chip) will be tested for in vivo biocompatibility. In parallel with this, electrodes manufactured on flexible, ultra thin membranes will be developed. The model will then be tested both outside the body, in vitro, as well as in different animal models.

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