A research has developed a novel spinal cord implant, which promises to help paralysed walk again.
The device, called the e-Dura implant, comprises a transparent silicone substrate patterned with microfluidic channels that deliver drugs, and soft electrodes made of platinum and silicone with stretchable gold interconnects that transmit and transfer electrical signals.
The researchers tested it on rats and found that it restored movement in rats paralyzed by spinal cord injury. After implanting it into rats, the researchers found the device caused no tissue damage and was not rejected, even after 2 months. Traditional implants - because they are more rigid - would have caused significant nerve tissue damage during this period of time.
According to study co-author, Stéphanie Lacour, a professor at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, the implant can remain for a long period of time on the spinal cord or the cortex. This opens up new therapeutic possibilities for patients suffering from neurological trauma or disorders, particularly individuals who have become paralyzed following spinal cord injury.
After successful trials on rats, the researchers are planning to move into clinical trials in humans. They foresee a promising future for the e-Dura implant in the treatment of a wide range of diseases, including epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and pain management.
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