Category: High-Definition Biotechnology

1022-C - Novel Strategy for Non-Invasive Ultrasound Neuromodulation in the Peripheral Nervous System

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

All the organs in the body are innervated with nerves that send signals to affect the organ’s function. New medical devices that modulate these nerves are under development to treat diseases that have traditionally been treated with pharmaceuticals (e.g. inflammatory disorders, heart failure, hypertension, diabetes). This new field of bioelectronic medicine provides a new way of thinking about automation within the pharmaceutical industries (i.e. devices drive the molecular output of specific neural pathways to achieve a “drug-like” therapeutic effect). However, the devices available to study and translate these neuromodulation therapies are limited. Current nerve stimulation strategies (using permanently implanted electrodes or less invasive transcutaneous electro-magnetic fields) lack precision, and are currently limited to stimulation of large nerves or peripheral axonal projections (that lie near the surface of the skin and are accessible to transcutaneous devices). These technical limitations severely limit neuroscientists’ ability to precisely stimulate the nerves entering target organs, and to uncover how they must be stimulated to achieve a desired therapeutic effect. To achieve local stimulation of peripheral nerve reflexes we developed a new strategy, in which focused ultrasound is used to directly neuromodulate within organs. The team performed ultrasound stimulation of a canonical efferent peripheral nerve pathway (the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway) within the spleen. The data presented demonstrates that this new strategy will provide an automated tool to precisely stimulate local nerve reflexes, and enable translation of the aims of bioelectronic medicine across a larger range of target diseases and clinical outcomes.

Christopher M. Puleo

Senior Biomedical Engineer
General Electric Global Research Center
Schenectady, NY

The biomedical engineering teams at GEGR are working across a range of GE technical strategic targets in the Healthcare space. The teams have active projects in the areas of bioelectronic medicine/neuro-modulation, regenerative medicine/cell therapy, rapid monitoring and therapeutic workflow optimization, and diagnostic automation. Specific project includes methods and devices to achieve rapid detection of pathogen presence and drug resistance, novel methods of achieving specific yet non-invasive therapeutic neuromodulation, and systems to rapidly separate and characterize cells within therapeutic cell manufacturing systems. The team works with a wide range of external and internal partners, including the NIH, DoD, strategic start-up partners, and large pharmaceutical firms. Chris received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University in Biomedical Engineering in 2009, and has been leading these biomedical engineering teams at GE Global Research since graduation.