Battelle said today that it’s partnering with the Feinstein Institute to develop a novel “neural tourniquet” designed to staunch blood loss using neurostimulation.
The device functions by electrically stimulating neural pathways to the spleen, which prepares platelets in the blood for clotting in the event of a wound, Battelle said. Applications anticipated for the device include pre-operative hospital use, as a wearable device for first responders and soldiers on the battlefield. The device is slated to be enter the market in the next 3-5 years, Battelle added.
Columbus, Ohio-based Battelle will be handling the system management, design and integration of the device while the Manhasset, N.Y.-based Feinstein institute will focus on researching the physiology and mechanisms behind the new neurostim device, Battelle program manager Mark Perry told MassDevice.com.
“One of the first applications we might envision is in a hospital setting. It would be in pre-operative, so before the patient would go in for surgery. It would have, for example, some control box, and then from that you would have leads that would go to the area that you want to stimulate. It could be a patch, it could be several different forms that you would use to stimulate that nerve,” Perry said. “Then we’d do that for actually quite a short amount of time, 30 to 60 seconds is sufficient to prime platelets for clotting. Then after that, it would be removed and the patient would be ready for surgery.”
Studies from the Feinstein Institute have shown that nerve stimulation devices can reduce bleeding, Battelle said. Stimulating neural pathways to the spleen for as little as 60 seconds has been shown to have a significant effect on bleeding, according to the institutes’ research. After stimulation, clotting occurs 50% more rapidly and blood loss is lowered by 50%, Battelle said.
“What we also have found through some of the pre-clinical data on animals is that the effect of stimulating that nerve will persist and last for more than 24 hours,” Perry said.
While the device’s first path to market will be in hospitals, Perry said, other developments, focusing on mobile wearable forms of the device are slated to follow.
“Where we see the technology going is in a wearable device, so that it is all one application, 1 piece, 1 part, that 1st responders could use in the event of an accident or trauma,” Perry said. “So, for example you have a military medic, and a soldier is injured, its possible that you’d have a device the medic would take out of a peel pouch and apply to the injured soldier to stop bleeding and potentially save limb or life.”
In addition to its usefulness in the field, Perry said that the device could be a boon for patients on prescribed blood-thinners who need to undergo surgery.
“In some cases where a person is on an anti-coagulants, and are to go into surgery, they are taken off the anti-coagulants some period of time beforehand – some week or so before, so it won’t be in their system so they could clot after surgery. Those anti-coagulants wouldn’t normally be re-prescribed until some time after the surgery,” Perry said. “With the neural tourniquet, we could combine techs with neural tourniquet treatment to enhance the clotting mechanism. In some ways we’re balancing one condition while we help mitigate another condition.”
The market for neurostimulation devices is valued at $4.5 billion, Battelle said, and expected to grow to over $7.8 billion by 2018.
“Our main goal at the Feinstein is to improve the health and well being of people through scientific discovery. We know that blood loss is a tremendous problem in a range of settings, and when we saw that our discoveries could change that, we knew we needed a partner to help bring that discovery to market. Battelle’s track record and approach make them a perfect partner,” Feinstein Institute vice president of scientific affairs Christopher Czura said in a press release.
“At Battelle, we have a long history of developing innovative technologies that help advance the state of modern healthcare and save lives. Our deep experience in neurotechnology development for brain and nerve applications, such as our NeuroLife neural bypass technology launched last year, is what brought us together with the team at the Feinstein. We look forward to building a partnership geared towards launching yet another innovative, life-saving technology,” Battelle research lead in neurotech Chad Bouton said in a prepared statement.