What Is Bioelectronic Medicine?
Bioelectronic medicine is one of the most innovative and exciting fields in healthcare, with the potential to transform diagnosis and care for millions of people suffering from a range of diseases. These treatments can provide important advantages, harnessing the body’s own natural mechanisms to address the core causes of disease and deliver advances in areas of unmet need.
Bioelectronic medicine today reminds me of the early years of the biotech and computer networking industries, when few recognized the long-term potential for solving unmet needs and changing people’s lives. Bioelectronic medicine is similarly poised to produce some of the most important innovations of our time—if we can continue to grow a dynamic ecosystem for research, investment, and scientific progress.
Ken Londoner, Founder, CEO, and Chairman
BioSig Technologies, Inc.
A Fast-Growing Field
The market for bioelectronic medicine devices is large and growing at a rapid pace. According to IDTechEx, bioelectronic medicine is a $22.6 billion market today, projected to reach more than $60 billion in 2029 based on a compound annual growth rate of more than 10%.
Subfields of Bioelectronic Medicine
The major subfields of bioelectronic medicine include cardiac rhythm management, cochlear and retinal implants, and neuromodulation, which comprises applications in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.
Cardiac Rhythm Management (CRM)
CRM: Pacemakers and devices that monitor and regulate heart rhythm to treats bradycardia, tachycardia and heart failure
Electrophysiology: Catheter-based treatments for cardiac arrythmias like atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia
Cochlear and Retinal Implants
Cochlear Implants: Implants that capture, digitize, and transmit sound to treat hearing loss or impairment
Retinal Implants: Implants that capture, digitize, and transmit visual information to treat retinal degenerative diseases
Central Nervous System (CNS)
Spinal Cord Stimulation: Devices that stimulate specific nerve fibers in the spinal cord to treat chronic pain
Deep Brain Stimulation: Devices that stimulate regions in the brain to address neurological conditions like epilepsy, Parkinson's, major depressive disorder, OCD, or PTSD
Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)
Vagus Nerve Stimulation: Devices that stimulate specific areas of the vagus nerve, the body's "neural highway," to address conditions like arthritis, migraine, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity and heart failure
Sacral Nerve Stimulation: Devices that stimulate the sacral nerve to manipulate the bladder or sphincter; treats conditions like overactive bladder and urinary incontinence
Sources: Bioelectronic Medicine 2019-2029, IDTechEx, November 2018; Emerging Bioelectronic Medicine & Neurostimulation Technologies Growing & Disrupting Medical Device Markets, Health Research International, February 2018
Good backgrounders on bioelectronic medicine
Anthony Arnold, SetPoint Medical, 2018
A comprehensive overview of the science, potential, and future of bioelectronic medicine.
Loup Ventures, July 2018
Overview of the field from a research-driven venture capital firm that invests in frontier tech companies.
Valentin Pavlov and Kevin Tracey, January 2019
A synopsis of the current state of the field including recent developments in research.
Flavia Vitale and Brian Litt,
A succinct overview of the medical potential and societal implications of a paradigm shift away from pharmaceuticals.
About the need for a cross-sector strategy
Kristoffer Famm and Kevin J. Tracey
et. al., April 2013
Describes a multidisciplinary initiative to make "electroceuticals" - another term for bioelectronic medicine - a mainstay of medical treatment.
Semiconductor Research Corporation and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 2018
An overview from the technical perspective, emphasizing the need for joint research efforts between the medical and semiconductor disciplines.
Douglas Weber et. al., May 2014
An interdisciplinary community puts forward a research roadmap for the next 5 years.
Dustin Tyler et. al,
Takeaways from the fourth biennial Neural Engineering Workshop (NEW), an event to connect leaders and stakeholder in the neural engineering community.
Market research and reports (purchase required)
Health Research International,
An in-depth market analysis of bioelectronic medicine.
Cold Springs Harbor Perspectives
An ongoing series of research papers on the growing number of disease applications of bioelectronic medicine; also compiled into a book available here..
Focuses on emerging technologies for electrical neuromodulation, including spinal cord, deep brain, and vagus nerve stimulators.
Colin Field-Eaton and Gerti Pellumbi,
McKinsey & Company, October 2019
Describes bioelectronic medicine as having "the potential to become a pillar of medical treatment and play a key role in the next horizon of medical technology innovation."
In The News
Alliance white paper, published in Bioelectronic Medicine
January 31, 2020
Interview with Barry Keenan, Vice President of Engineering, BioSig Technologies
MD&DI, January 14, 2020