Customer stories: Ion pump relieves chronic pain

A surgically implanted ion-pump that emits ions to relieve chronic pain has been developed by the Laboratory of Organic Electronics research group at Linköping University. This represents a breakthrough innovation, being the first of its kind in the world. The technology has been developed in close collaboration between Linköping University, RISE Acreo and the Karolinska Institute.

Chronic pain is a mystery: no one has yet identified why people continue to suffer pain long after their original injury has healed. Consequently, it is difficult to develop pharmaceuticals that can reduce suffering. Researchers from the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University, in collaboration with RISE Acreo and the Karolinska Institute, have now constructed a small, electronically controlled flow free pump that emits ions of GABA, one of the body’s natural pain-relieving neurotransmitters. Surgically implanted in the body, the small plastic pump emits gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to locations where pain impulses normally enter the spine. The ions block the impulses’ path into the central nervous system and prevent them from reaching the brain.

Acreo has contributed primarily with competence in the areas of product development and component manufacture.


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