Researchers at the CÚRAM Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway have developed an implantable stimulator device that combined with body power, can help repair tendon injuries particularly in athletes.
This innovative device is cost-effective, relatively easy to implant, and has the potential to pave the way for new methods to treat these types of injuries.
The results were published in the prestigious journal Advanced Materials this August.
The study investigated whether electrical therapy, coupled with exercise, would help to speed up the treatment of musculoskeletal diseases such as tendon damage or ruptures. It showed that tendon repair can be controlled through electrical stimulation from an implantable device that is powered by body movement such as walking.
CÚRAM Research Centre focuses on developing diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device, and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs.
Dr Marc Fernandez, who carried out the principal research of the study at CÚRAM, said: “Successful treatment of tendon damage and disease represents a critical medical challenge […] We presented an implantable, electrically active device capable of controlling tendon regeneration and healing.”
Lead researcher on the study, CÚRAM Investigator Dr Manus Biggs, also added: “This unique strategy of combining a device which is powered through body-movement, and which can induce accelerated tendon healing is expected to significantly impact the field of regenerative devices, specifically in the area of sports or trauma associated injuries.”
The research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland. In February 2021, they announced a reinvestment of €46million, demonstrating the Government’s strong commitment to the MedTech industry in Ireland as well as supporting the continuation of substantial academic, industry and clinical collaborations that are central to CÚRAM’s work.
Set up in 2015, CÚRAM is now a world-leading Irish Medical Device R&D Centre based out of NUI Galway.
While led by NUI Galway, CÚRAM’s partner institutes include University College Dublin(UCD), University College Cork (UCC), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), University of Limerick (UL), Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI), Dublin City University (DCU), Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and the National Institute Bioprocessing Research and Training.