University of Michigan professor developing pain-relieving device as opioid alternative

Injectable device has been designed to relieve pain, mold to specific areas

Michigan Stadium, also known as The Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich. (WDIV)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – University of Michigan Ann Arbor assistant professor Dr. Scott Lempka has been named as a contributing member to a team of experts developing an injectable pain-relieving device.

The team will test the Injectrode, a metal medical device created by Californian company Neuronoff, that molds to targetted areas inside the body. The Injectrode has been developed as an alternative to opioid use by those experiencing chronic back pain.

Testing of the Injectrode will focus on stimulating the dorsal root ganglion -- a cluster of neurons in the spinal nerve that send sensory information to the spinal cord -- to alleviate chronic pain. The metal device is injectable through a small needle and does not require intensely invasive surgery.

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The announcement comes alongside Neuronoff receiving a $2.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health as part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-Term initiative.

Dr. Lempka will work with Dr. Kip Ludwug from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Doug Weber from the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Andrew Shoffstall from Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Lempka is a part of the U-M’s departments of biomedical engineering and anesthesiology. His research focuses on neural engineering and biomedical computation and modeling. He leads the Neuromodulation Lab of the Biointerfaces Institute at the U-M, which focuses on advancing neurostimulation therapies and technologies.

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Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.