Nerve stimulation device for IBD implanted in Melb man

By Mansi Gandhi
Wednesday, 13 December, 2023

Nerve stimulation device for IBD implanted in Melb man

Australia has among the highest incidence of Crohn’s disease in the world, with around 100,000 people currently living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis1.

The disease is often diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 30, at a time when they are trying to study, enter the workforce or commence families.

There is no cure currently available for Crohn’s disease, but a new clinical study hopes to improve the lives of people impacted by the disease — many of whom are at the mercy of life-long drug therapies to manage symptoms.

Around 80% of all people with Crohn’s disease eventually need surgery to remove inflamed sections of their bowel if drug treatments stop being effective. However, the disease recurs in the majority of cases.

Now, a new medical device from the Bionics Institute has been implanted in a Melbourne father during surgery at the Austin Hospital to kickstart the body’s natural anti-inflammatory mechanisms to treat Crohn’s disease.

The device, the size of a thumbnail, attaches to the vagus nerve in the abdomen. The vagus nerve controls many functions in the body, such as digestion, heart rate and the immune system. The device is made up of tiny electrodes that stimulate the vagus nerve to trigger the body’s natural defences and prevent inflammation from damaging the gut.

Image courtesy of The Bionics Institute.

The research, a collaboration between the Bionics Institute, The Florey, The University of Melbourne and The Austin, aims to show that the device can prevent the recurrence of Crohn’s disease at the surgical site, with the hope of allowing patients to continue their lives without the fear of further surgery and debilitating symptoms.

While other devices currently in clinical trials for inflammatory bowel disease are inserted at the neck level and can cause serious side effects, our device is inserted in the abdominal cavity, meaning that — critically — the heart and lungs are not affected when the device is switched on, according to the researchers.


Top image credit:

Related News

CSIRO partners to strengthen infectious disease response

Emerging and endemic infectious diseases in humans and animals pose a major challenge in the...

Screening tool for faster stroke detection

The smartphone tool, said to have an accuracy rating of 82% for detecting stroke, would not...

Eastern Health Blackburn reopens surgical hub

The project, to be completed in the next few months, will see two new surgical theatres added and...

  • All content Copyright © 2024 Westwick-Farrow Pty Ltd