BRAINSTORM is innovative, scalable, wireless, multimodal nanoinvasive neuromodulation technology for independent and switchable excitation and inhibition of deep brain areas. The BRAINSTORM breakthrough relies on novel smart anisotropic magnetic nanomaterials (SMNs) acting both as nanoscale ‘heaters’ and as ‘torquers’ as SMNs leverage either hysteretic losses or transitions from vortex to in-plane magnetization in a frequency-dependent manner. This intrinsic bimodal functionality will permit direct control of thermosensitive or mechanosenitive neurons, and it will be boosted by advanced polymer functionalization to transform torque into electrical signals trough piezoelectric coatings, as well as delivery of viral vectors for genetic targeting with sensory channels. SMNs will also be navigated to endogenous sensory channels though antibody targeting. Selected actuation of ion channels that respond to thermal or mechanical stimulus will permit precise activation or inhibition of targeted neuronal populations. We will also develop novel driving electronics, including metamaterial solenoid coils for power efficient and rapid control of ‘mechanical’ or ‘thermal’ modalities, and a focused ultrasound-based delivery framework for allowing SMNs extravasation, hence avoiding cranial injection. After in vitro validation, the therapeutic potential of the BRAINSTORM platform to shape behaviour by modulating the excitation/inhibition balance through thermal/mechanical/electrical modalities will be demonstrated in preclinical models of Fragile X syndrome.
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s European Innovation Council, call HORIZON-EIC-2022-PATHFINDEROPEN-01, under Grant Agreement n. 101099355