A pinboard by
Marlena Raczkowska

PhD Student, National University of Singapore


Useing electrical impulses to modulate the body’s neural circuits.

I am working on bioelectronics- the therapeutic application of electronic devices interfacing with nerves. I believe that this new frontier between medicine and engineering will not only give us more insight into how the nervous system works, but also create novel cutting-edge medical technologies.


Organic bioelectronics in medicine

Abstract: A major challenge in the growing field of bioelectronic medicine is the development of tissue interface technologies promoting device integration with biological tissues. Materials based on organic bioelectronics show great promise due to a unique combination of electronic and ionic conductivity properties. In this review, we outline exciting developments in the field of organic bioelectronics and demonstrate the medical importance of these active, electronically controllable materials. Importantly, organic bioelectronics offer a means to control cell–surface attachment as required for many device–tissue applications. Experiments have shown that cells readily attach and proliferate on reduced but not oxidized organic bioelectronic materials. In another application, the active properties of organic bioelectronics were used to develop electronically triggered systems for drug release. After incorporating drugs by advanced loading strategies, small compound drugs were released upon electrochemical trigger, independent of charge. Another type of delivery device was used to achieve well-controlled, spatiotemporal delivery of cationic drugs. Via electrophoretic transport within a polymer, cations were delivered with single-cell precision. Finally, organic bioelectronic materials are commonly used as electrode coatings improving the electrical properties of recording and stimulation electrodes. Because such coatings drastically reduce the electrode impedance, smaller electrodes with improved signal-to-noise ratio can be fabricated. Thus, rapid technological advancement combined with the creation of tiny electronic devices reacting to changes in the tissue environment helps to promote the transition from standard pharmaceutical therapy to treatment based on ‘electroceuticals’. Moreover, the widening repertoire of organic bioelectronics will expand the options for true biological interfaces, providing the basis for personalized bioelectronic medicine.

Pub.: 09 Feb '17, Pinned: 24 Aug '17

Ion channel and neurotransmitter modulators as electroceutical approaches to the control of cancer.

Abstract: The activities of individual cells must be tightly coordinated in order to build and maintain complex 3-dimensional body structures during embryogenesis and regeneration. Thus, one way to view cancer is within systems biology as a network disorder affecting the ability of cells to properly interact with a morphodynamic field of instructive signals that keeps proliferation and migration orchestrated toward the anatomical needs of the host organism. One layer of this set of instructive microenvironmental cues is bioelectrical. Voltage gradients among all somatic cells (not just excitable nerve and muscle) control cell behavior, and the ionic coupling of cells into networks via electrochemical synapses allows them to implement tissue-level patterning decisions. These gradients have been increasingly implicated in the induction and suppression of tumorigenesis and metastasis, in the emerging links between developmental bioelectricity to the cancer problem. Consistent with the well-known role of neurotransmitter molecules in transducing electrical activity to downstream cascades in the brain, serotonergic signaling has likewise been implicated in cancer. Here, we review these recent data and propose new approaches for manipulating bioelectric and neurotransmitter pathways in cancer biology based on a bioelectric view of cancer. To support this methodology, we present new data on the effects of the SSRI Prozac and its analog (ZINC ID = ZINC06811610) on survival of both cancer (MCF7) and normal (MCF10A) breast cells exposed to these compounds. We found an IC50 concentration (25 M for Prozac and 100 M for the Prozac analog) at which these compounds inhibited tumor cell survival and proliferation. Additionally, at these concentrations, we did not observe alterations in a non-tumoral cell line. This constitutes a proof-of-concept demonstration for our hypothesis that the use of both existing and novel drugs as electroceuticals could serve as an alternative to highly toxic chemotherapy strategies replacing or augmenting them with less toxic alternatives. We believe this new approach forms an exciting roadmap for future biomedical advances.

Pub.: 31 May '17, Pinned: 24 Aug '17