Neurotechnology company Motif Neurotech has conducted the first-in-human (FIH) brain stimulation with a millimetre-sized implantable device for treatment-resistant depression.

US-based Motif has designed the miniature brain pacemaker to precisely stimulate the brain to restore healthy circuit functioning to treat mental health disorders.

The study, published in the preprint server medrxiv, was conducted by the neurotechnology firm in partnership with researchers at Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, and UTHealth Houston.

Completed at Baylor St Luke’s Medical Centre, the research team demonstrated that the implant can safely and effectively stimulate the human brain without contacting the surface of the brain.

According to Motif Neurotech, the team further showed that the implant can offer safe and effective brain stimulation in large animal studies for more than one month.

The millimetre-sized brain stimulator is indicated for treatment-resistant depression (TRD), a subtype of major depressive disorder (MDD). It is enabled by wireless magnetoelectric power transfer technology.

The pea-sized implant, which can be inserted during a 20-minute outpatient surgery, is intended to give at-home therapy and should have fewer adverse effects than medications.

Motif Neurotech CEO and founder Jacob Robinson said: “We’ve developed what we believe is the smallest implantable brain stimulator demonstrated in a human subject. Our wireless, battery-free device will enable a minimally-invasive neurostimulation solution to treat neuropsychiatric diseases such as TRD.

“With our technology, a short outpatient procedure will enable long-lasting therapy with very few side effects compared to drugs.

“The growing trend of increasing efficacy and reduced invasiveness may soon make neuromodulation to treat mental health as common as pacemakers in cardiology.”

Motif is creating a neuromodulation device that consists of a precisely positioned implant and wearable headset to administer episodic neuromodulation at home.