Imec joins with Neurogyn for pelvic nerve stimulator implant development

NeuroGyn specialises in neurostimulaton and surgical solutions for pelvic nerve disorders.

Leveraging Imec’s expertise in ultra-low power wireless communication and powering, the new implant aims at prolonging the lifetime of the device while lowering its cost, making it suitable at the point of need. Clinical validation is planned after the development phase.

Pelvic nerves play an important role in bladder, sexual and bowel function, and movement and sensation in the legs.

Injuries in or dysfunction of the pelvic organs nerves can lead to disorders related to these areas with in first line urinary urgencies and overactivities but also potential erectile dysfunction in men.

First-line conservative treatments do not always lead to sufficient improvement of the complaints and/or are often associated with disabling adverse effects (with a 60% discontinuation of therapy as a consequence).

Neurostimulation in which electrodes deliver current pulses to nerves to change their activity, can provide an effective alternative treatment option for these patients. The current off-the-shelve devices for this therapy, however, are bulky, expensive and have a limited lifetime.

The high cost of pelvic neuromodulation makes reimbursement by Medicare extremely difficult, especially in the treatment of functional bladder disorders where the vast majority of patients are elderly or even retired, and makes the treatment unavailable to many patients and in many developing countries.

Imec researchers at Holst Centre are now redesigning the neurostimulator leveraging its advanced miniaturization technology, in line with the clinical expertise of NeuroGyn AG in this field.

Imec has a track record in developing radio chips and systems that could be used to make recharging easier. Adding recharging capabilities to the device would improve the lifetime of the implant. Additionally, reducing battery size and implant size is aimed at making the implant minimally invasive and reducing the cost.

Imec’s unique toolset for wireless communication and powering of implantables enables the development of customized solutions for medical devices. Taking into account the users and beneficiaries needs, the device can be tailored to facilitate insertion into the body and alignment of the stimulation pathway.