Neuralink gains approval to recruit for human trial of brain implant for paralysis
By News Desk
September 20, 2023 08:44 PM
Neuralink, a brain-chip startup founded by tech billionaire Elon Musk, announced on Tuesday that it has been given the go-ahead to start recruiting for the first human trial of its brain implant for paralysis patients. The company stated that those with paralysis brought on by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or cervical spinal cord damage may be eligible for the study.
However, Neuralink has not disclosed the exact number of participants expected to enroll in the trial, which is anticipated to span approximately six years, as reported by international media.
The primary goal of this pioneering study, according to Neuralink, is to empower individuals to control a computer cursor or keyboard solely through the power of their thoughts. This ambitious objective will be realized through the surgical implantation of a brain-computer interface (BCI) in a region of the brain responsible for the intention to move.
Notably, Neuralink initially sought approval to implant its device in ten patients but encountered safety concerns during discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Subsequently, the FDA granted authorization for a different, albeit unspecified, number of patients to participate in the trial.
Elon Musk, an ardent advocate for Neuralink's potential, envisions the company's technology as a means to facilitate rapid surgical insertion of its chip devices for treating a range of ailments, including obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia.
While Neuralink has already faced scrutiny for its treatment of animal testing, the company achieved a significant milestone in May when it secured FDA approval for its first-in-human clinical trial. Nevertheless, experts predict that the startup may face an extended journey of over a decade to obtain commercial approval for the BCI device, even if it proves safe for human use. This development marks a crucial step forward in the realm of neurotechnology, offering hope to individuals grappling with paralysis and other neurological conditions.