Focused Ultrasound for Spinal Cord Injury: Johns Hopkins Receives Funding for New Device


theodore manbachi johns hopkins captionsIn a recent press release, Johns Hopkins Medicine announced that a team of its neurosurgeons and biomedical engineers had received a $13.48 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop implantable focused ultrasound neuromodulation devices that can monitor blood flow and then administer treatment to prevent further damage in patients with a traumatic spinal cord injury.

The 5-year translational project will be co-led by Professor Nicholas Theodore, MD, and Assistant Professor Amir Manbachi, PhD, in the departments of Neurosurgery and Biomedical Engineering. The team plans to develop the Band-Aid–sized implantable devices from concept to human use. If it detects decreased blood flow, the device would be used to apply focused ultrasound at the proper parameters to improve blood flow, stop inflammation, and offer pain relief or other neuroprotective therapies to prevent further damage to the injured tissue.

“This will be a real engineering feat,” says Dr. Manbachi. “Typical ultrasound transducers are bulky and designed to gather images of larger structures. We want to take this technology and shrink it for use on structures the size of a pinky finger, while still capturing clear ultrasound images of the spinal cord microvasculature.”

See the Johns Hopkins Medicine Press Release >