Medicamente biolectronice - Medicina Viitorului? / Bioelectronic Medicines - The Medicine of the Future?

Cum ar fi sa ne tratam doar cu impulsuri electrice, fara medicamente? O idee care, desi pare utopica, nu este departe de a deveni realitate conform oamenilor de stiinta. 

Acestia lucreaza la o noua forma de terapie, denumita medicina bioelectronica, bazata pe impulsuri electrice si care se presupune ca va inlocui terapia cu medicamente. 


Creierul nostru controleaza functionarea organelor importante din organism prin intermediul unor semnale electrice care sunt transportate de nervi (fiecare organ este “conectat” la creier printr-un nerv). 
 

Daca din diferite motive, semnalele emise de creierul sunt modificate pe traseu, poate aparea imbolnavirea organelor. 


Cercetatorii doresc ca, prin plasarea unor nano implanturi electrice pe nerv, sa identifice, in timp real, modificarile acestor semnale (functia de diagnosticare a implanturilor). 

Mai mult decat atat, implanturile emit impulsuri electrice care au rolul de a reconstitui semnalele initiale transmise de creier, refacand functionarea normala a organelor (functia de tratare a acestor nano implanturi). 

  

Reflex inflamator

Organismul nostru controleaza modul in care raspundem la infectii sau leziuni: atunci cand simte ceva in neregula, zona afectata trasmite electrice pentru a notifica creierul. In consecinta, creierul transmite semnale electrice catre zona afectata pentru a incetini sau stopa procesul inflamator.

Acest fenomen este numit reflex inflamator

Daca, din diverse motive, semnalele electrice transmise de creier sunt modificate pe traseu, apare inflamatia (care, in mod conventional, este tratata cu medicamente). 

Medicina conventionala are numeroase dezavantaje: pentru unii pacienti, medicamentele nu isi fac efectul sau pot avea efecte adverse. 


Pentru a inlatura aceste dezavantaje, medicina bioelectronica nu actioneaza la nivel molecular, precum medicina conventionala, ci controleaza semnalele emise de creier.  Acest lucru este realizat prin plasarea unor implanturi electrice pe nerv. Aceste implanturi genereaza impulsuri electrice cu scopul de a reconstitui semnalele originale.

Identificarea semnalelor emise de creier pentru fiecare patologie, precum si nervul responsabil de transportul acestora reprezinta provocarile medicinei bioelectronice. 


Pana acum au fost deja testate (cu succes) nano implanturi care trateaza diabetul de tip 2  prin impulsuri electrice precum si implanturi pentru bolile inflamatorii. 

Medicina biolectronica reprezinta tratamentul viitorului si presupune o colaborare stransa intre diverse discipline precum biologie, inginerie, stiinta materialelor, neuro-chirurgie, printre altele.


Ca este una dintre directiile de interes in cercetarea medicala o dovedeste si implicarea companiei de farmaceutice GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in acest domeniu. 

Merita mentionat ca GSK a infiintat (in 2012) un fond de investitii pentru a sustine start-up-urile din acest domeniu, cu o investitie initiala de $50m. 

 

Bioelectronic Medicines - The Medicine of the Future?

Imagine how it would be to treat diseases with electrical impulses, without any drugs?

An idea that, although it may seem utopian, is not far from becoming reality according to researchers. 
 

This prediction is based on a new therapeutic method, dubbed biolectronic medicine, which uses electrical impulses and is meant to replace the use of drugs in the near future. 
 

Our brain monitors and regulates the functioning of our main organs through electrical signals, transported by the nerves (each of them with a distinct name). 

If, for any reason, these signals are altered, diseases may appear. 

 

The researchers are trying, through electrical nano-devices implanted on one of these nerves, to detect and to identify in real-time such alterations  (the nano device’s diagnose function). 

 

Additionally, the device emits electrical signals to block or boost these signals when necessary, restoring the initial function of organs (the nano device’s treatment function). 

 

Inflammatory Reflex

Our body controls the way we respond to infections and diseases: when our body senses that something is wrong in a certain zone within it, a nerve -linking that zone of the body to the brain- transmits electrical impulses to notify the brain. As a response, the brain sends back different electrical signals to shut down the undesirable phenomenon. This auto-healing process of the body is named inflammatory reflex

 

If, for any reason, the electrical signals sent by the brain are modified on the way to the affected area, the undesirable phenomenon is left untreated by the body (and by conventional medicine, drug administration would normally be recommended). 


The drawbacks of conventional medicine are well-known: on some patients, drugs do not achieve the expected results, and may have many negative side effects.

 

Bioelectronic medicine functions by restoring the electrical impulses sent by the brain, by implanting electrical nano-devices on the relevant nerves. 

 

This therapeutic method poses 2 main challenges: identification of electrical impulses sent by the brain and detection of the nerve transporting them. 
 

For each specific disease, a dedicate nano-devices needs to be developed. 

For example, the nano-device to treat type 2 diabetics, restoring the body’s sensitivity to insulin with electrical impulses, have already been  (successfully) tested. 

 

Bioelectronic medicine represents the therapy of the future and necessitates a strong collaboration between different disciplines such as biology, engineering, material sciences, neuro-surgery, among others. 

 

The interest of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the English pharma company, in this field is an extra indication that this type of therapy is a promising field for research. 

In this context, it is interesting to note that GSK established (in 2012) a venture capital fund to support start-ups in this field, with an initial investment of $ 50m.