From the WUSTL Newsroom…
Building on wireless technology that has the potential to interfere with pain, scientists have developed flexible, implantable devices that can activate — and, in theory, block — pain signals in the body and spinal cord before those signals reach the brain.
The researchers, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said the implants one day may be used in different parts of the body to fight pain that doesn’t respond to other therapies.
“Our eventual goal is to use this technology to treat pain in very specific locations by providing a kind of ‘switch’ to turn off the pain signals long before they reach the brain,” said co-senior investigator Robert W. Gereau IV, PhD, the Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology and director of the Washington University Pain Center.
The study is published online Nov. 9 in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
Because the devices are soft and stretchable, they can be implanted into parts of the body that move, Gereau explained. The devices previously developed by the scientists had to be anchored to bone.
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