- Ultrasound used to non-invasively stimulate specific parts of the spleen and liver and activate the nervous system to regulate body’s inflammatory or metabolic response in preclinical studies
- Key targets in the spleen shown to reduce inflammatory markers that are key drug targets in Arthritis, Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) and other chronic inflammatory conditions
- Key targets in the liver shown to regulate blood glucose, which could lead to non-invasive ways to treat diabetes and other metabolic diseases
- Findings featured in Nature Communications article
NISKAYUNA, NY – March 12, 2019 – GE Research and Feinstein Institute for Medical Research bioelectronic medicine teams have demonstrated potentially breakthrough non-invasive methods to regulate dysfunction in the body’s metabolic or inflammatory control systems using ultrasound. The findings were reported in this week’s edition of Nature Communications. This article follows a medical first from The Feinstein Institute and GE Research to read what nerves are saying about inflammation in the body.
Bioelectronic medicine combines neuroscience, molecular biology and bioengineering to tap into the nervous system to treat disease and injury without the use of pharmaceuticals. Published bioelectronic medicine research has shown implanted devices stimulated nerves for therapeutic outcome. This most recent paper discusses the use of a non-invasive ultrasound technique to stimulate nerve features directly within target organs in a very precise manner.
“We have found that using ultrasound in very specific and targeted ways, we can reduce inflammatory markers and alter metabolism,” said Chris Puleo, a GE biomedical engineer and co-author of the Nature Communications article. “In our studies, we show that applying ultrasound to a specific target in the spleen altered inflammatory markers that can cause arthritis, IBD and other ailments. And when targeting a specific part of the liver, we were able to modulate blood glucose levels.”
“Major advances in understanding the immune system launched the new field of bioelectronic medicine, using devices targeting nerves to replace drugs. Non-invasive bioelectronic treatments have been limited until now,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute and co-author on the paper. “The potential for ultrasound devices to target specific reflex neural pathways to block inflammation represents a major contribution to the field.”
“What’s exciting is that we have demonstrated the use of ultrasound as a potential non-invasive alternative to current therapies that could lead to revolutionary new ways to treat various illnesses,” said Victoria Cotero, a GE biologist and co-author of the manuscript.
Looking forward, more preclinical studies will be required to understand the full potential and effects of these new stimulation methods using ultrasound. In addition, human trials will be needed to further develop and validate these methods for potential future medical applications.
About GE Research
GE Research is GE’s innovation powerhouse where research meets reality. We are a world-class team of 1,000+ scientific, engineering and marketing minds (600+ Ph. Ds), working at the intersection of physics and markets, physical and digital technologies, and across a broad set of industries to deliver world-changing innovations and capabilities for our customers. To learn more, visit our website at https://www.ge.com/research/.
About the Feinstein Institute
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York. Home to 50 research laboratories and to clinical research throughout dozens of hospitals and outpatient facilities, the Feinstein Institute includes 4,000 researchers and staff who are making breakthroughs in molecular medicine, genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we empower imagination and pioneer discovery, visit FeinsteinInstitute.org.
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