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

Learn More

Good backgrounders on bioelectronic medicine

"The Evolution
of Bioelectronic Medicine"

Anthony Arnold, SetPoint Medical, 2018

A comprehensive overview of the science, potential, and future of bioelectronic medicine.

"Bioelectronic Medicine:
An introduction"

Loup Ventures, July 2018

Overview of the field from a research-driven venture capital firm that invests in frontier tech companies.

"Bioelectronic medicine: updates, challenges and paths forward"

Valentin Pavlov and Kevin Tracey, January 2019

A synopsis of the current state of the field including recent developments in research.

"Bioelectronics: the promise of leveraging the body's circuitry
to treat disease"

Flavia Vitale and Brian Litt,
December 2017

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

"A jump-start for electroceuticals"

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.

"2018 BioElectronic Medicine Roadmap"

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.

"Bioelectronic medicines:
a research roadmap"

Douglas Weber et. al., May 2014

An interdisciplinary community puts forward a research roadmap for the next 5 years.

"Cleveland neural engineering workshop 2017: a strategic evaluation of neural engineering"

Dustin Tyler et. al,
January 2019

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)

Emerging Bioelectronic Medicine & Neurostimulation Technologies: Growing & Disrupting Global Medical Device Markets

Health Research International,
February 2018

An in-depth market analysis of bioelectronic medicine.

Bioelectronic Medicine Series

Cold Springs Harbor Perspectives
in Medicine

An ongoing series of research papers on the growing number of disease applications of bioelectronic medicine; also compiled into a book available here..  

Bioelectronic Medicine 2019-2029

IDTechEx

November 2018

Focuses on emerging technologies for electrical neuromodulation, including spinal cord, deep brain, and vagus nerve stimulators.

"Bioelectronics 'jump-start' the next wave of device therapeutics"

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

"Building a bioelectronic medicine movement 2019: insights from leaders in industry, academia, and research"

Alliance white paper, published in Bioelectronic Medicine

January 31, 2020

"Team Up to Advance Bioelectronic Medicine"

Interview with Barry Keenan, Vice President of Engineering, BioSig Technologies

MD&DI, January 14, 2020

© 2020 by The Alliance for Advancing Bioelectronic Medicine.