In a landmark clinical trial, Precision Neuroscience’s brain implant has successfully mapped electrical brain activity, marking the first time such electrode technology has been utilized in human trials. The device, with over 1,000 electrodes on a square centimeter flexible film as thin as human hair, was used by neurosurgeons during three distinct surgical procedures. This achievement signifies an innovative leap in brain-computer interface technology, the use of which could potentially restore “meaningful function” in patients with various neurological disorders.
The brain implant, christened the Layer 7 Cortical Interface, is meant to sit on the six layers of cells that form the cerebral cortex, accessed through a small incision in the skull. The development of a device that is easy and safe to implant and retrieve, and capable of improving outcomes in conditions such as stroke, dementia, and traumatic brain injury, is the ultimate objective of this venture.
Benjamin Rapoport, a founder of Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain implant company, and Michael Mager jointly founded the brain-computer interface company, Precision Neuroscience. The start-up amassed $41 million in a Series B funding round earlier this year, led by Forepont Capital Partners, signaling a substantial milestone in its pursuit to compete with similar devices under development at Neuralink and Synchron.
The funds raised are set to expedite the product development and guide the way to FDA regulatory review. The technology designed by Precision Neuroscience is a trailblazer in the field, characterized by its minimally invasive, high-resolution, and reversible implant features. Michael Mager, CEO of Precision Neuroscience, expressed his optimism for the technology, stating, “We imagine a world where devastating neurological conditions are finally treatable.”
The trial was conducted in collaboration with neurosurgeons at West Virginia University’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI). In mid-April, while surgically removing a brain tumor, the surgeons temporarily placed the Layer 7 Cortical Interface on a patient’s brain, allowing the device to read, record, and map the electrical activity of the brain. During two later procedures, the device was used to pinpoint critical language areas while tumors were being excised from those parts of the brain.
Dr. Peter Konrad, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at RNI and the principal investigator leading the study, characterized the achievement as a “remarkable breakthrough in real-time detection of electrical brain activity mapped with such high resolution.” He further commented, “It’s as if I was seeing the patient’s brain think.”
The study anticipates enrolling up to five patients and extending related trials to other major medical centers, including Mount Sinai Health System, Penn Medicine, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Precision Neuroscience is also in the process of completing an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to further investigate the device in diagnostic electrophysiologic mapping procedures that may last up to 30 days.
Indeed, the latest development from Precision Neuroscience offers hope for the nearly 100 million people in the U.S. alone who suffer from neurological conditions, a number that reaches one billion worldwide. The promising Layer 7 Cortical Interface is testament to the company’s innovative vision, representing a significant stride in connecting human and artificial intelligence. The implications for future advances in neurological treatments are immense, setting the stage for a transformative impact on the world of neuroscience.