September 21, 2023
Elon Musk’s brain implant startup, Neuralink, has opened its first human clinical trial for recruitment, calling for patients with paralysis to apply.
Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, the company said those with “quadriplegia due to cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)” may qualify for the study, though it did not disclose how many patients it would be recruiting.
Neuralink received FDA approval in May to conduct human trials of its brain implant, despite ongoing federal scrutiny for issues at the animal testing phase of its clinical trials, following a 2022 report detailing unnecessary animal deaths.
Under the PRIME Study (short for Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface), a robot will be used to surgically implant a brain-computer interface (BCI) chip in the brain, targeting the area that controls movement to allow paralysis patients to “control external devices with their thoughts.”
“Once in place, the N1 Implant is cosmetically invisible and is intended to record and transmit brain signals wirelessly to an app that decodes movement intention,” the company said in a blog post. “The initial goal of our BCI is to grant people the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.”
The PRIME study is an “important step” in its mission to create tools to restore autonomy to those with unmet medical needs, according to the company.
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