News | September 5, 2018

GE Global Research, DARPA Partner On $2.9M Project To Study New Treatments For Diabetes

  • GE researchers to demonstrate concepts around neuromodulation technology to treat Diabetes during DARPA’s D60 Conference 
  • Emerging scientific evidence shows that nervous system dysfunction may be a key contributor to many chronic diseases
  • Promising research in bioelectronic medicine suggests that stimulating and monitoring the human nervous system could create new treatments that replace drugs

Could non-invasive devices replace drugs and regular insulin injections in the future treatment of diabetes? This is a central question a team of GE scientists are exploring as part of a research project with DARPA worth up to $2.9M.  GE researchers will be demonstrating the technology this week at DARPA’s D60 symposium in Washington, DC. 

As part of the 3-year program, the GE Bioelectronic medicine team aims to demonstrate that a novel, non-invasive, stimulation technique can be used to reverse or treat diabetes in pre-clinical models, instead of the typical drugs associated with treatments today. The team hopes that the results indicate the ability to prevent the onset of metabolic dysfunction (associated with the onset of diabetes), and that the GE team can progress toward safely testing and applying this technology in the clinic. 

“Today’s drug treatments and monitoring methods for diabetes can be uncomfortable and time consuming, and create side-effects for patients,” said Victoria Cotero, a PhD and Biologist at GE Global Research who contributes to the DARPA project. “Our project with DARPA aims to find a better alternative that treats diabetes with non-invasive medical devices without the side effects associated with drug treatments.” 

This project is part of a growing body of research in the field of bioelectronic medicine that is exploring new ways to treat chronic diseases such as diabetes by using electronic devices to correct dysfunctions in the nervous system that are believed to be key contributing factors to these diseases.  GE scientists have developed a novel, potentially breakthrough approach that could restore nerve signals to a healthy state using non-invasive devices that stimulate metabolic biosystems and produce drug-like effects, but with greater precision than traditional treatments, and with fewer side effects. 

The GE Bioelectronic medicine team is located at GE’s Global Research Center in Upstate New York.  This interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers works at the intersection of biology, physics and engineering and has deep connections to other top academic and clinical collaborators in the field. 

Recently, members of the GE team were part of groundbreaking work led by the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research to read and interpret nerve signals in the body.  The projects with DARPA and Feinstein are part of a growing number of research initiatives that the Bioelectronic medicine team is exploring to transform the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of diseases. 

“Given GE’s decades of innovation in medical imaging modalities, our growing body of research and published work in biomedical research and our considerable network of academic and clinical collaborators, GE Global Research is in a unique position to help drive  the emerging field of non-invasive neuromodulation and enable revolutionary new treatments for diabetes and other chronic diseases,” Chris Puleo, a GE biomedical engineer and principal investigator of the DARPA project said. 

About GE Global Research
GE Global Research is GE’s innovation powerhouse where research meets reality. We are a world-class team of 1,000+ scientific, engineering and marketing minds (600+ Ph. Ds), working at the intersection of physics and markets, physical and digital technologies, and across a broad set of industries to deliver world-changing innovations and capabilities for our customers. 

SOURCE: GE Global Research