7/7/2014 6:53:18 AM
When drugs can’t coax cells in the pancreas to produce insulin, or loosen arteries to reduce blood pressure, a well-placed jolt of electricity might do the trick. Spurred by decades of success with pacemakers and cochlear implants, and by advances in miniaturized technology, interest is surging in ‘electroceuticals’ — bioelectronic implants that stimulate nerves to treat disease.
Next week, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will announce a US$248-million effort to map the body’s electrical wiring and develop such devices. Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has already set up a similar programme — and biotechnology companies are on the verge of bringing products to market.
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