Next-generation implants will be biodegradable and non-invas
EPFL engineers have developed a neural interface that disappears harmlessly in the body after several months and allows natural tissue to grow back. What's more, it can be implanted in a patient's blood vessel rather than inside the brain, thereby avoiding the need for invasive surgery.

Researchers are developing a new generation of biodegradable implants that get around this problem. The first obstacle they faced relates to the short lifetimes of biodegradable materials, which limit how extensively they can be used.

The neural interface developed is made entirely of polymers that deteriorate naturally after several months. It can therefore be used in medium- to long-term applications such as monitoring epileptic activity or supporting neurorehabilitation after an injury. The engineers also found that the surrounding tissue grows back naturally once the implant has disappeared.

The neural interface is made entirely of polymers that deteriorate naturally after several months. It can therefore be used in medium- to long-term applications such as monitoring epileptic activity or supporting neurorehabilitation after an injury. The engineers also found that the surrounding tissue grows back naturally once the implant has disappeared.

The implant eliminates the need for invasive surgery, as it can be implanted in a patient's blood vessel. EPFL's neural interface can communicate with the brain but doesn't have to be in direct contact with the nervous system. Because it's made out of polymers rather than metal, it tends not to provoke a strong inflammatory reaction.

"Our research shows it's possible to develop minimally invasive neuroprostheses that interact with the surrounding tissue," says the researcher.

Advanced Materials Technologies
Source: https://doi.org/10.1002/admt.202100176
Biomaterials
Source: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2021.120889
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