Micro-channel electrode neural interfaces: restoring bladder control

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair


In the Basic Technology project, we have developed a novel design of peripheral nerve interface. By placing axons into polymeric micro-channels hosting embedded electrodes the extracelluar amplitude of action potentials is greatly increased, allowing for robust recording, noise suppression and efficient stimulation. In the Translational project, we plan to implement our concept to restore bladder control first in an experimental rat model, and then in a clinical therapeutic veterinary model. The electrode interfaces will be implanted to record electrical activity from afferents, including those that encode bladder fullness and pressure. Non regenerative then regenerative nerve interfaces with their communication system will be fabricated and tested to treat incontinent dogs suffering from spinal cord injury. Results from our study will provide a direct pathway for treating the equivalent condition in human patients.


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Das S (2016) Bio-inspired nano tools for neuroscience. in Progress in neurobiology

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FitzGerald JJ (2009) Microchannel electrodes for recording and stimulation: in vitro evaluation. in IEEE transactions on bio-medical engineering

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Lacour SP (2010) Flexible and stretchable micro-electrodes for in vitro and in vivo neural interfaces. in Medical & biological engineering & computing

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Lacour SP (2009) Long micro-channel electrode arrays: a novel type of regenerative peripheral nerve interface. in IEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering : a publication of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society

Description The grant has designed a new nerve interface that will be further developed to provide sensory recording for control of bladder emptying. It has also completed a clinical trial of a bladder emptying device for dog patients with spinal cord injury.
Exploitation Route Treatment of dog and human patients for bladder control Establishing a new clinical treatment for dogs

Working with Finetech to design a dog bladder emptying device

Developing a recording microchannel device for future commercialisation.
Sectors Healthcare

URL http://www.brc.cam.ac.uk
Description We have applied a bladder stimulator to a series of 30 veterinary patient dogs, who have lost bladder control due to spinal cord injury. The devices have restored urinary control, and are likely to become standard treatment in paraplegic dogs. Beneficiaries: Vets and their patients
Sector Healthcare
Description Cheltenham science festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact session on spinal injuries at cheltenham festival. Around 300

contacts with vets on bladder control after spinal injury
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
Description Japan spinal injury society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Health professionals
Results and Impact Discussions on future policy for Japanese spinal injury patients

Various enquiries from clinicians, researchers, patients
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
Description Toledo spinal injury centre 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Discussions with health care professionals and researchers

Talk about future treatments
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014