Understanding the Human Nervous System: Bridging the Gap from Animal Research to Clinical Therapies
Kip Ludwig, Ph.D.
Program Director, Neural Engineering
National Institutes of Health, NINDS
Recent yearly sales estimates for the neurology medical device market range between three and four billion dollars a year, with neuromodulation therapies estimated at up to 60 percent of sales. At present the design of neuromodulation therapies are primarily driven by observed phenomenology, instead of proactively leveraging a detailed understanding of how the human nervous system works in health and disease. In his talk, Dr. Ludwig will outline recently approved neuromodulation therapies in the U.S. and Europe, and discuss what is known and not known about the relevant functional biology in humans. He will identify both the benefits and limitations of extrapolating animal data to human function, as well key barriers and potential opportunities for conducting human studies to establish the relevancy of these data. Finally, Dr. Ludwig will present several recent NIH and wider government funding Programs focused on mitigating the common barriers to reverse translation, with the goal of elucidating the biological underpinnings of neuromodulation and catalyzing our understanding of the human nervous system.