Drug research is changing: instead of pills, researchers are concentrating on "bioelectronics" that "zap" the brain into healing the body through electronic signaling. A lot this has to do with implants (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show). Neurological problems, from stroke and epilepsy to depression, will be treated through brain implants rather than pills or injections.
Even diabetes and obesity may be able to be cured by sending electrical signals into the brain (NOTE: Just in time for bathing suit season, we’ve REDUCED the price of this download to $2.99 from $4.99). it might be possible to treat obesity by sending local signals to cells in the stomach or gut that would control the patient’s appetite, without involving the brain. Or, if cells in the pancreas fail to make enough insulin in diabetic patients, a signal could be sent to cells elsewhere to do the job instead.
In the August 1st edition of the Financial Times, Clive Cookson quotes drug researcher Moncef Slaoui as saying, "At present every pharmaceutical and biotech company makes chemical or biological molecules that target [biochemical] structures such as proteins in the body. No one is designing medicines to interact with the electrical signals that are the other language of biology."
He quotes drug executive Andrew Witty as saying, "The sciences that underpin bioelectronics are proceeding at an amazing pace at academic centers around the world but it is all happening in separate places. The challenge is to integrate the work–in brain-computer interfaces, materials science, nanotechnology, micro-power generation–to provide therapeutic benefit."