According to a company blog, Elon Musk's hotly debated biotechnology startup Neuralink began recruiting for its first human clinical trial on Tuesday. Neuralink will begin giving brain implants to paralysis patients as part of the PRIME Study after gaining approval from an independent review board. PRIME, which stands for Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface, is being carried out to assess the implant's safety and functionality.
How will it work?
A chip will be surgically implanted in the area of the brain that governs the intention to move in trial participants. The major objective, according to the business, is "to grant people the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone," and the gadget, which would be implanted by a robot, would then record and send brain impulses to an app.
Those with paralysis caused by cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be eligible for the six-year trial, which includes 18 months of at-home and clinic visits followed by five years of follow-up visits. Those interested can register for the patient registration on Neuralink's website.
Musk has been working on Neuralink's objective of connecting the human brain to a computer for five years, but the company has only tested on animals so far. In 2022, a monkey died during project testing as part of efforts to teach the animal to play Pong, one of the first electronic games.
How it started
In May, Neuralink tweeted that it received FDA approval for human clinical trials, which the agency confirmed in a statement. The start of human trials comes more than a month after the brain chip startup raised $280 million in a fundraising round led by Founders Fund, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm founded by Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder. Musk predicted at least four human trials at the business since 2019, but the company didn't seek FDA permission until 2022.
Neuralink's brain implants will require regulatory approval before they can be sold to the general public. In 2021, the FDA issued a study outlining the agency's initial comments on brain-computer interface devices, stating that the subject is "progressing rapidly."