The Neuromod Prize is a SPARC (Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions) initiative from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that is accelerating the development of targeted neuromodulation therapies. The first phase of the competition called on scientists, engineers, and clinicians to submit novel concepts and plans for development.
The primary component of a submission was a concept paper (15 pages maximum) that summarized the proposed targeted neuromodulation therapy. The proposed solution needed to be tunable, accurate, and precise, and to demonstrate an ability to quantitatively assess and control multiple on-target and related off-target effects. Visit the submission requirements for more details on Phase 1 submissions.
A breakthrough moment
Neuromodulation has the potential to treat nearly any condition in the body through regulation of the nervous system. Recent innovations in device technology and improved understanding of the interactions between the nervous system and target tissues and organs have led to a breakthrough moment in the field. As decades of research are applied in new ways, innovators are identifying novel neuromodulation approaches that are capable of selectively targeting multiple organs and functions. Bringing more of these solutions to patients will require better clinical translation and improved collaborations between industry, research, and government.
What is neuromodulation?
Neuromodulation is the science of regulating nervous system activity for a therapeutic benefit. Innovators are developing technologies to directly stimulate the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system to treat symptoms and diseases, producing life-changing patient benefits — from relieving pain and preventing seizures to restoring organ function. Neuromodulation technologies, including direct electrical, ultrasound, infrared light, magnetic stimulation, and other modalities, have shown substantial promise in regulating nervous system activity in attempts to target organ function and treat disease.
The opportunity to treat any condition
Emerging research is identifying means to selectively target multiple organ functions by stimulating nerve terminals and sub-branches, through activation of selected nerve fascicles and/or parameterizing of the stimuli. Advancing these solutions will have transformative effects on the field of neuromodulation.