Philip Troyk of Sigenics, Inc. has been selected as a part of a team led by Mario Romero Ortega to receive funding from GlaxoSmithKline for research on bioelectronic medicine. The research team includes scientists and engineers from the University of Texas, Centro de Estudos de Doenças Crónicas (Portugal), and the Illinois Institute of Technology.
The grant award brings the team one step closer to reaching the goal of the GSK Bioelectronics Innovation Challenge, which is to design a “small, implantable, wireless device that can record, stimulate and block functionally-specific neural signals to and from a specific visceral organ in functional models.” The challenge is basically to create a device that can either create or block electrical signals, mimicking those that are created by the brain, and send them to a specific part of the body.
Once created, a device like this could open the door to many medical advances and new therapies. In place of drugs, an electronic device can simulate neural signals and mimic the effects of medication while eliminating the possibility of chemical side effects that most traditional medications carry. A device similar to that of the GSK Bioelectronics Innovation Challenge was created by Autonomic Technologies to suppress cluster headaches. As an emerging technology, therapeutic neural stimulation is currently being used to treat chronic pain, bladder problems, and other medical conditions.
The Sigenics team joins 9 other teams from around the world who also received research funding from GlaxoSmithKline to work toward the same objective. The first team to satisfactorily complete the challenge will receive an award of one million dollars. Read more about GlaxoSmithKline and the Bioelectronics Innovation Challenge here.