Symposium SM06—The Future of Neuroengineering—Relevant In Vivo Technology
In the field of Neuroengineering it is very fashionable to use the term in vivo. Unfortunately, the use of this term is frequently synonymous with simple characterization techniques that demonstrate components and devices are not broken – and an animal is used in the process. This may seem to be a very pessimistic view of the field, however we believe the next "break-out" in Neuroengineering will in fact be the development of in vivo devices, with explicit medical and neuroscientific questions to answer.
The challenges around in vivo testing of novel and often polymer based technologies have been associated with producing robust devices with chronic stability. It is only with recent advances across the past 5 years that new approaches have enabled more control over polymer design and fabrication such that stable technologies have been developed. However, with these advances it is necessary to take the field into a translational stage where we move beyond the bench and into the clinic
This symposium is absolutely focused on “Relevant In Vivo Technology". Indeed, every researcher in Neuroengineering is familiar with :
a) in vitro papers about device X, ending with "we look forward to possible applications in vivo" or "this paves the way for future applications in vivo". Frequently, the proposed “in vivo” applications would require massive infrastructure and technological development making speculation on in vivo relevance tenuous at best.
b) in vivo papers with very limited testing and applicability. This is typically in anesthetized animals, with frequently smaller numbers of animals. And the purpose of the paper seems to be a demonstration of the new technology not being broken, rather than an investigation of a medical or neuroscientific application with the new technology.
A very robust set of talks focused on new technology with medically or neuroscientifically relevant applicability in vivo is necessary at this time. Interdisciplinary topics related to materials science, engineering, and neuroscience will be connected by invited abstracts in order to accelerate the development of materials and devices toward applications. The closing session will be dedicated to a comparison of related technologies to motivate discussions toward generalized materials for Neuroengineering. Finally, while the field has been driven by academic inspiration, it is now more critical to look to industry partners (see industry co-organizer) to assist with commercialization, safety, and efficacy for regulatory requirements.