Typically, a patient undergoing epilepsy surgery that requires an electrode to be put in the brain or spine has to endure a large incision or even having the top of their skull cut open to accommodate the size of the electrode. Seeing the need for a smaller device to eliminate some of this trauma, NeuroOne developed an electrode that is not only more suitable for minimally invasive procedures, but also potentially works better due to a higher-definition signal.
“We’re approaching the placement of these devices through smaller holes,” said Dave Rosa, NeuroOne’s CEO, in an interview with Design News, MD+DI's sister publication. “Our goal is to make them as least invasive as possible, and in some cases like our spinal cord electrode for back pain, we’re trying to develop them so that you can actually push them through a needle that they would use to give a pain injection.”
To make its electrodes smaller, Rosa said NeuroOne employs a completely different design and manufacturing strategy than what is commonly used today. Traditionally, electrodes are made from silicone, Rosa explained. “What they do is, they cut a silicone, we’ll just say for one particular size here, they cut it into a square and they put that that square on a table and then a laborer takes a number of tiny contacts, little silver pellets, and they placed each one manually on the film,” he said. “And then they take the machine that solders the wires to the pellets, and then they take another square of silicone, put it over the top of the first one and compress it and hence you have an electrode.”
NeuroOne’s process uses polyimide instead of silicone, and instead of soldering, a machine etches wire onto the film and then compresses it. “You don’t have to do any soldering, you don’t have to place any of these pellets onto the electrode, the machine does everything,” Rosa said.
“It’s kind of like night and day,” he continued. “We don’t rely on much manual labor to make our electrodes, whereas the existing ones today that are sold for medical purposes are primarily done through manual labor.” Because of this, Rosa said, the human error component is eliminated, and manufacturing is much more consistent.
Another aspect of NeuroOne’s electrodes is that they have a higher definition signal than traditional electrodes, which is important, Rosa said, because less noise and a clearer signal means a better, more precise image is available. He likened it to comparing a television from the 1960s with a 4k television of today. Rosa said that NeuroOne achieves a higher definition signal by making the contacts smaller, through a programming process. He said this will enable 900 contacts to fit on cell that contains only 16 today. “Our technology by nature, by design, has the capabilities to really be ultra high-definition by just [making the contacts smaller],” he said.
Future possibilities include the use of AI, but right now software and hardware limitations prevent this. “So, it's kind of like we have a tool that can't be utilized to its full potential today but that's the direction it's heading,” Rosa concluded.
NeuroOne’s Evo cortical electrode currently has FDA clearance for less than 30 days of use, and its Evo sEEG electrode currently has FDA clearance for less than 24 hours of use.