Bioelectronics: The Push Towards New Medicines
The functions and organ systems of our body are, to a significant extent, controlled by electrical signals that travel along the nerves. Bioelectronic medicines will aim to control biological processes and treat disease by modulating these electrical impulses. They will be minaturised devices that connect to specific groups of neurons or their nerve fibres and modulate the electrical signalling patterns, to restore the healthy states of targeted organs and functions. We believe bioelectronic medicines could allow us to address some diseases that have so far been untreatable, and treat others with greater precision and fewer side effects than with conventional molecular medicines.
As a sign of our commitment to this new field of research, we have put in place multiple mechanisms to activate and integrate the research community around the fundamental challenges of developing these new treatments. They include an exploratory funding program (currently consisting of over 30 projects), an innovation challenge to build a research platform and a $50 million venture capital arm to support commercialization efforts. This talk will highlight some of the latest achievements from these programs and remaining challenges.
About the Speaker
Brad Holinski is an engineering professional with an interest, passion and education in biomedical devices that record, interpret and modulate signals within the nervous system. He is currently the lead project engineer in the GSK Bioelectronics research group, which is dedicated to bringing bioelectronic medicines to people. Brad received both his undergraduate in electrical engineering and his PhD in biomedical engineering at the University of Alberta. His thesis focused on restoring walking after spinal cord injury using spinal cord stimulation and sensory feedback.