Controlling the lifetime of body-implanted devices

Bioresorbable material-based neurostimulators are of particular interest for eliminating the need for additional surgery to remove the devices after clinical treatments. However, their device lifetime relies on passive operation system, heavily depending on materials' dimensions and properties.
Controlling the lifetime of body-implanted devices
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  • Personal motivation for this research?
    : As the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the life expectancy increase, human-oriented technologies, such as gene control and artificial organs, have gained great interest. Many endeavors to extend human lifespan included healthcare monitoring devices, which are now progressing towards the implantable medical devices with technological advancements. Bioresorbable material-based medical implants are of particular interests as a next-generation healthcare solution for eliminating the need for additional surgery to remove the devices after clinical treatments. However, their device operation has been heavily relied on materials' properties and dimensions, thereby limiting the control of the lifetime of implanted devices. This research aimed to secure the foundation of next-generation medical implants technologies by developing material technologies that allow the control of device lifespan for the on-demand clinical applications.

  • Potential real-life applications of our research in long-term?

    : We anticipate that the on-demand bioresorbable neurostimulator, allowing device removal without additional surgery, can alleviate physical, psychological, and economic burdens on patients. Furthermore, the device will enable personalized treatment based on the clinical conditions of neuropathy, as it can be absorbed and removed in the human body at our desired time.

    Electronic medicines, highly regarded as the next-generation healthcare technology, have not yet occupied by global leading companies. By proposing an on-demand bioresorbable neurostimulator that addresses the limitations of conventional bioresorbable electronics, ensuring device stability and reliability, we expect that this work has potential for technological, economic, and industrial impacts.

    At last, our neurostimulator can be also adopted to various neural tissues, expanding its potential use in conditions such as the treatment of severe obesity, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. The versatility of this technology is anticipated to have substantial applications in the medical industry.

  • Highlights of our research?

    : Conventional bioresorbable electronics heavily relied on the inherent properties and dimensions of their constituent materials, resulting in passive control of the device lifespan. Consequently, there were challenges such as the unexpected device dissolution before the treatment period for neurological disorders, or prolonged presence of implanted devices causing residual substances in the body, leading to biological toxicity that includes inflammatory reactions. Thus, the practical applications of the bioresorbable electronics in the medical industry was limited. In addition, energy supplies (e.g., lithium-ion battery) cannot be composed of bioresorbable materials, creating a significant demand for the energy solution in bioresorbable medical implants.

    In this work, we propose a promising energy solution for bioresorbable medical implants based on ultrasound-driven triboelectric energy harvesting technology. We also introduce a material design strategy of bioresorbable medical implants that can be completely removed from the human body at a desired time within a short period. Based on the material design, our on-demand bioresorbable neurostimulator has been validated for its therapeutic effects on both compression injury and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, through electrophysiological and histopathological methods. We expect that our findings have significant technological and industrial impacts for bioresorbable medical implants.

    Given its noteworthy achievements, this work has received high acclaim, leading to its selection in the Editors’ Highlights of Nature Communications.

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Biotechnology
Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Biotechnology
Neuroscience
Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Neuroscience
Implants and Prostheses
Physical Sciences > Materials Science > Biomaterials > Biomedical Materials > Implants and Prostheses

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