Study Rationale: Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) has been used to ease motor symptoms in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). This approach requires a surgical procedure to implant electrodes into the brain. We propose to replace conventional DBS electrodes with nanoelectrodes that are ~2,000 times thinner than a human hair. These electrodes can be injected into the brain where they operate wirelessly, like a smartphone, making them easier and safer to use.
Hypothesis: We expect that wireless DBS using nanoelectrodes will be as effective as conventional DBS and can be introduced without the need for surgery, potentially reducing some of the side effects that accompany a more invasive procedure.
Study Design: We will begin by confirming the safety of nanoelectrodes in mice, and we will determine how long the electrodes can be used to provide DBS. Next, we will assess how well the nanoelectrodes relieve symptoms in preclinical models of PD. Finally, we will examine the effects of stimulation in samples of human brain tissue donated from epileptic volunteers.
Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s disease: The ability to treat PD without the use of invasive surgery to implant a bulky device would make DBS safer and available to a broader population of people with PD.
Next Steps for Development: Should our study prove successful, we plan to test the safety and efficacy of wireless DBS in people with PD.