Novel Tiny Electrical Implants May Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dec, 2021 - By SMI

Novel Tiny Electrical Implants May Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

A huge trial is set to test an implant that may treat rheumatoid arthritis by delivering short bursts of electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve.

Last year, as study revealed promising results of the first ever human-pilot study that tested vagus nerve stimulation device for rheumatoid arthritis. Now the first of its kind, a huge phase 3 trial to test this experimental therapy for arthritis started this year in the U.S. The trial will be recruiting 250 participants, over 40 sites across the U.S. and will be the first study to vigorously test the stimulation of vagus nerve for the treatment of this common auto-immune disease, arthritis.

According to neurosurgeons from the University of Washington, the device that is will be tested in the trial is almost the size of a vitamin tablet and it will be implanted surgically through a small incision in the neck. A small collar-like device recharges the implant wirelessly by wearing it for an hour every week. Half the subjects will be part of placebo group that will be given the surgical implant. However, they will be no administration of electrical stimulation, and the stimulation that will be tested, consists activation for only one minute each day. The trial will last for three years to get long-term efficiency and safety data. However, the active intervention period is set to be of only 12 weeks. According to the scientists, the implant would also be tested on other autoimmune diseases, if this trial provides positive results.

Furthermore, a team of scientists at Bionics Institute, Australia is also studying a device that stimulates vagus nerve for rheumatoid arthritis treatment. However, this device differs from the one being tested in the U.S. This devices is implanted in stomach through a keyhole surgery and is connected to a battery implanted around the hips that should last for 10 years. These electrical implants successfully work, they would transform arthritis treatment by regulating inflammation in the body.

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