ElectRx Has the Nerve to Envision Revolutionary Therapies for Self-HealingDecember 11, 2014Proposals sought for groundbreaking neuromodulation capabilities that would maximize the immunological, physical and mental health of military Service members and veterans
Many chronic inflammatory diseases and mental health conditions affecting military Service members and veterans involve abnormal activity in the peripheral nervous system, which plays a key role in organ gathering. Monitoring and targeted regulation of peripheral nerve signals offer fantastic promise to help patients restore and maintain their health lacking surgery or drugs. Contemporary neuromodulation devices are typically used as a last resort, but, because they are relatively large (in this area the size of a deck of cards), require invasive surgical implantation and often produce side effects due to their lack of precision. DARPA’s Electrical Prescriptions (ElectRx) program is seeking innovative research proposals to help transform neuromodulation therapies from last resort to first choice for a wide range of diseases.
ElectRx (pronounced “electrics”) aims to develop groundbreaking technologies that would use the body’s innate neurophysiology to restore and maintain health. In help of the White House’s brain initiative, ElectRx also seeks to accelerate understanding of specific neural circuits and their role in health and disease. Prospect therapies based on targeted peripheral neural stimulation could promote self-remedial, reduce dependence on traditional drugs and provide new treatment options for illnesses.
ElectRx would control advanced sensing and stimulating technologies to target specific peripheral neural circuits that control organ functions. These feedback-controlled neuromodulation technologies would monitor health status and intervene as needed to deliver patient-specific therapeutic patterns of stimulation designed to restore a healthy physiological state. The program seeks to make ultraminiaturized devices that would require only minimally invasive insertion procedures such as injectable delivery through a needle.
“Many chronic illnesses occur when the body’s natural neuroelectrical and biochemical rhythms are disrupted, like playing incorrect clarification in music,” said Doug Weber, DARPA program manager. “ElectRx seeks to be with you what the ‘right clarification’ are for each person and provide real-time treatment to help the patient achieve and delight in a harmonious, healthy baseline. Peripheral neuromodulation therapies based on ElectRx research could help maximize the immunological, physical and mental health of military Service members and veterans.”
The scope of ElectRx’ research is peripheral neuromodulation treatments for inflammatory diseases (which include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease) and mental health disorders (such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression). DARPA expects ElectRx proposers to identify a disease of interest to study and treat. The agency intends to determine overall program success based on advancement of minimally or non-invasive boundary technology, the capability to target specific nerves lacking side effects, validation of biological input/output pathways, and potential for translating this knowledge into an integrated, closed-loop neural-visceral boundary for monitoring and maintaining health.
To familiarize potential participants with the technical objectives of ElectRx, DARPA has scheduled a Proposers' Day on Tuesday, December 16, 2014, at the Capitol Talks Center in Arlington, Va. Registration is closed. The DARPA Unique Notice document announcing the Proposers’ Day and describing the specific capabilities sought is available at http://go.usa.gov/6zpW. The Broad Agency Announcement with full technical details on ElectRx is available at http://go.usa.gov/F88T. For more information, please send by e-mail [email protected]
ElectRx plans to explore two principal technical areas: Read more