BIOS taps into neural pathways to unlock AI-based treatments
AI-based healthcare treatments moved a step closer this month with the news that Hills Road-based start-up BIOS has been able to automatically extract the neural signals regulating physiological biomarkers using an AI-enabled neural interface.
This world-first advance creates a new way of investigating conditions, accelerates the discovery of neural biomarkers, and opens the door for a new generation of AI-based neural healthcare treatments.
Bioelectronic medicine, neuroceuticals and closed-loop neuromodulation therapies have emerged as a new way to treat chronic conditions, offering an alternative to pharmaceuticals. For chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis or diabetes, which can be expensive and difficult to treat, the potential exists to revolutionise treatment for billions of people.
So how does it work? The central role the brain and neural pathways play in controlling our major organ systems has only begun to be understood scientifically over the past 20 years. These therapies adapt neural signals directly and offer the ability to create more targeted and more effective treatments than pharmaceuticals, at a lower cost and with fewer side effects.
A major bottleneck to date in the development of such treatments has been the speed and accuracy with which scientists could discover and recreate the exact neural signal patterns (biomarkers) capable of affecting our health. Once identified, these biomarkers can be used to design new treatments.
BIOS’s approach has been to develop a neural data biomarker discovery platform combining long lifetime neural interfaces (connections that allow computers to read and write neural data directly to and from the body) with a deep learning based AI system to “learn” the biomarkers directly from the neural data.
BIOS ran its tests for months, allowing the team to observe and identify persistent neural biomarkers and their relation to changes in organ function. The company, co-founded by Cambridge University graduates Emil Hewage, a computational neuroscientist, and Oliver Armitage, a biomechanical engineer,
Oliver Armitage, co-founder and chief scientific officer, said: “This is really the first time we have been able to understand the ‘language’ of the nerves as the basis for delivering treatment.”
Emil Hewage, co-founder and CEO, added: “This a big first step in accelerating the development of neuroceuticals with data-driven AI techniques. We and our partners are constantly working to advance nervous system treatments to improve the quality and length of life for the billions of people affected by chronic disease. The platform our team at BIOS have developed provides a critical edge in ultimately being able to deliver this.”