Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in New Zealand, and primary drug treatments have failed to improve statistics over the past decade.
Researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand (NZ) have received more than $ 1 million from MBIE’s Endeavor Fund to develop an implantable medical device that activates nerves to treat heart disease, potentially transforming therapies cardiovascular disease and the treatment of a range of conditions.
The MBIE-funded research is jointly led by Dr Daniel McCormick, Principal Investigator of the Implantable Devices Group at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI), and Dr Jesse Ashton, Researcher at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences (FMHS ) and ABI.
Research is focused on advancing so-called “electro-eutics,” devices that stimulate or block neural activity and offer an attractive alternative to drug therapy for heart disease – they can be controlled more precisely and also have fewer side effects. .
The main challenge facing the development of electroceuticals, they say, is finding a way to limit their effects to fibers of a nerve that have therapeutic benefits on the target organ.
Their research focuses in particular on the vagus nerve, the longest nerve in the autonomic nervous system.