Scientists in Sweden Create a GABA Pump for Chronic Pain and More

Discussion in 'Research News' started by Silvio Sabo, Dec 13, 2015.

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    1. Silvio Sabo

      Silvio Sabo Member Benefactor

      Gothenburg, Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise - I think
      Scientists in Sweden have created a biodegradable pump that can be surgically inserted in an area and pump ions of GABA. They have developed it for treatment of chronic pain but on the page in Swedish they are also mentioning that it might be able to use it to treat other conditions in the brain such as epilepsy.

      GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that calms excited neurons and also plays a big role in tinnitus. My guess is that if it works for epilepsy and chronic pain it will most probably also work for tinnitus.

      The aim is that the pump can be inserted and then pump GABA to a targeted area for a longer period of time, up to several years.

      So far they have done pre-clinical trials in rats. The next step is to adapt the pump for use in humans. That is estimated to take about 1 year and then clinical trials can begin. From that point it's another 5-10 years to market.

      I know that this is a long time but if they manage to pull this off then this might be the winner!

      I'm also thinking that the pump can be modified to pump whatever drug one wants eventually. That is if GABA is not successful. But just being able to target specific areas is a big break through!

      Many drugs provide their therapeutic action only at specific sites in the body, but are administered in ways that cause the drug’s spread throughout the organism. This can lead to serious side effects. Local delivery from an implanted device may avoid these issues, especially if the delivery rate can be tuned according to the need of the patient. We turned to electronically and ionically conducting polymers to design a device that could be implanted and used for local electrically controlled delivery of therapeutics. The conducting polymers in our device allow electronic pulses to be transduced into biological signals, in the form of ionic and molecular fluxes, which provide a way of interfacing biology with electronics. Devices based on conducting polymers and polyelectrolytes have been demonstrated in controlled substance delivery to neural tissue, biosensing, and neural recording and stimulation. While providing proof of principle of bioelectronic integration, such demonstrations have been performed in vitro or in anesthetized animals. Here, we demonstrate the efficacy of an implantable organic electronic delivery device for the treatment of neuropathic pain in an animal model. Devices were implanted onto the spinal cord of rats, and 2 days after implantation, local delivery of the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) was initiated. Highly localized delivery resulted in a significant decrease in pain response with low dosage and no observable side effects. This demonstration of organic bioelectronics-based therapy in awake animals illustrates a viable alternative to existing pain treatments, paving the way for future implantable bioelectronic therapeutics.

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