Researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed a completely new technology that has enabled paralyzed rats to move again. The spinal implant called e-Dura could potentially be used in humans too. A rubbery ribbon of silicone, laced with cracked bits of gold ” Flexible Spinal Implant” that transmit nerve signals, has been spliced into the broken spinal cords.
How to help Flexible Spinal Implant
For people that suffer from chronic back pain, Flexible Spinal Implant usually offer a welcome respite from the pain. The spinal cord simulator is usually implanted near a person’s spine to send electrical pulses to the spinal cord. But the problem with some of these implants is that they can cause problems for surrounding tissues. And there have been several cases where patients have incurred more injuries after having these spinal implants inserted in their backs. Some even leading to paralysis. But now a new type of spinal implant called e-Dura actually works naturally with the tissues it’s surrounded with.
Experts say this is the most advanced implant yet, which may change the face of paralysis care, or even make the condition a thing of the past. Researchers attached this new implant Flexible Spinal Implant and found that the motor cortexes in the rat’s brains could indeed read signals from the legs through it. Next, they pitted e-Dura against surgery and a more rigid implants. Just two months after e-Dura implantation, the rats were able to walk, jump, and run without any damage or rejection. However, they did need the help of an external stimulator connected by wires to make the device work. Currently, there is no actual link between the brain and the stimulator with e-Dura.
This breakthrough could usher in an entirely new era of neuronal treatment, with Flexible Spinal Implant applications for Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, and epilepsy, among others. One of the most challenging parts now is having the implant work independent of an external control unit. But the ability of this implant avoid rejection by the body and to move with the patient are significant milestones on the road to undoing paralysis forever. Clinical trials in humans are slated to take place within the next few years.