2022 journal article
A bioresorbable peripheral nerve stimulator for electronic pain block
SCIENCE ADVANCES, 8(40).
Local electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves can block the propagation of action potentials, as an attractive alternative to pharmacological agents for the treatment of acute pain. Traditional hardware for such purposes, however, involves interfaces that can damage nerve tissue and, when used for temporary pain relief, that impose costs and risks due to requirements for surgical extraction after a period of need. Here, we introduce a bioresorbable nerve stimulator that enables electrical nerve block and associated pain mitigation without these drawbacks. This platform combines a collection of bioresorbable materials in architectures that support stable blocking with minimal adverse mechanical, electrical, or biochemical effects. Optimized designs ensure that the device disappears harmlessly in the body after a desired period of use. Studies in live animal models illustrate capabilities for complete nerve block and other key features of the technology. In certain clinically relevant scenarios, such approaches may reduce or eliminate the need for use of highly addictive drugs such as opioids.