Implantable neuroprosthetic devices (NPDs) are a key component of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that interface directly with local nerve cells. However, NPDs may be rejected by the immune system and cause the transplant to fail. Recently, a research team from a number of units such as the Georgia Institute of Technology proposed a flexible biocompatible brain implant device that promises to reduce the immune response and improve the success rate of surgery, benefiting those with spinal cord injuries and prosthetics. Related papers were published in the journal Microsystems and Nanoengineering.

At present, the most advanced NPDs are usually made of silicon and precious metals. The hard materials and soft brain tissue do not match the mechanical properties, and the NPDs are foreign materials, which can cause inflammation at the interface, and even neurodegeneration, which distort the recorded nerve signals. .

The biocompatibility interface proposed by the research team is called "embedded neural electrodes based on extracellular matrix" (ECM-NEs). The extracellular matrix (ECM) of brain tissue mainly includes laminin, fibronectin and collagen, and biomolecules containing ECM molecules and anti-inflammatory drugs are coated on the surface of NPD, which can well solve the problem of biocompatibility. The researchers found that when ECM materials are used as coatings and scaffolds, they form a natural biocompatible matrix that promotes nerve regeneration and enhances connectivity between neurons and interfaces. These molecules also modulate the immune response and reduce the formation of inflammation and glial scars.

This design minimizes the non-natural materials that are connected to the brain, and the implanted part remains rigid when accessed into the target brain area, then becomes soft, matching the softness of surrounding brain tissue, reducing tissue inflammatory response .

But at present, the use of extracellular matrix to implant functional electrodes into the brain is only a proof of concept. One of the authors, Georgia Tech and associate professor of Emory Medical School, Lotash Karumbaiya said: "We hope that once we have mastered the relevant nano-manufacturing technology, we can turn this vision into a clinical application. Biocompatible electrodes are used in the next wave of brain implants."

According to the National Institutes of Health report, one in every 190 people in the United States has lost limbs. For these people with disabilities, the cost of care and the quality of life are a huge burden. NPDs have been developed for nearly 20 years, which has greatly helped these people to live independently.

The results of implantable medical research around the world have frequently demonstrated to us that the era of implantable medicine is coming. This time, the US research team applied biocompatible brains to the treatment of spinal injuries. This is a disease in which the spinal nerve cells lose their brain's consciousness, and patients urgently need to perform willing functional activities. This exciting breakthrough has made implantable medical care a new favorite of medical research and development, but more in-depth academic research, cross-disciplinary multidisciplinary collaboration and demanding clinical trials have enabled the development of implantable medical electronic devices in developed countries such as the United States. In full swing, I hope more and more research results will appear in China in the future.

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