Intravascular Device for Stimulation and/or Measurement

Technology #16988

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Graph of exemplary total electric field (Etotal) and total current density along a radial axis that that passes through the center of the electrode of an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
Professor Edward Boyden
Program in Media Arts and Sciences, MIT
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Professor Elazer Edelman
Health Sciences and Technology Program, MIT
External Link (
Giovanni Franzesi
Program in Media Arts and Sciences, MIT
Christian Wentz
Program in Media Arts and Sciences, MIT
Nir Grossman
Media Laboratory, MIT
Eric Leuthardt
Washington University
Colin Derdeyn
Washington University
Managed By
Ben Rockney
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

Intravascular Device

US Patent Pending


This invention is used for the monitoring and stimulation of tissue or transiently disrupting the blood-brain barrier for drug delivery. This device has a number of indications depending on implant location including treatment of epilepsy, depression, inflammation, Alzheimer’s, sleep apnea, and facilitation of stroke recovery through vagus nerve stimulation, or treatment of obesity through stimulation of the colon through the mesenteric vein. Other examples include placement in the coronary arteries to control atrial fibrillations or replacement of DBS electrodes for treatment of movement disorders, mood disorders, neurodegerative disorders, seizure disorders, or pain syndromes among other clinical applications. 

Problem Addressed

Implanted electrodes that provide deep brain, electrical stimulation are an effective treatment for a variety of clinical disorders including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, neuropathic pain and treatment-resistant depression. However, surgically implanting these electrodes is invasive and brings a significant risk of fatality. Instead, this invention uses routine catheterization to place an intravascular device for the stimulating and/or recording of target tissue. 


This stent-shaped device lies in tight contact with vessel walls and consists of an internal skeleton, a flexible substrate attached to the exterior of the internal skeleton, and one or more pairs of electrodes with any necessary power or control circuitry. The device may be a wire mesh stent, but may also be built with nonmetallic structural elements. The design may include thin connectors for external hardware or additional electronics for wireless power, operation, information transfer and communication. Wireless power methods are flexible and may include methods such as RF, optical, ultrasound, piezoelectric, or vibrational energy harvesting. The device is capable of both data recording of the vascular or tissue walls as well as magnetic or electrical stimulation. Supplementary hardware, such as pressure sensors, may provide additional monitoring including the measurement of blood flow through the stent. Active devices may also use electrodes to identify thrombogenesis or changes in tissue health. Further, the device may be used to transiently disrupt the blood-brain barrier for targeted drug delivery. 


  • Catheter-based implantation is much safer than traditional deep brain implantation
  • Device can be small and ultra-thin to be used in vessels with a diameter more than an order of magnitude smaller than those for current clinical stents
  • Device can interface with external hardware or may be powered and operated wirelessly
  • Location of device is extremely flexible and it may be placed in either a vein or artery and its structure adjusted to match a particular vessel or application.