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Device to treat pain and loss of feeling from diabetic neuropathy

Implantable foot device to restore feeling and reduce pain associated with diabetic nerve complications.


Sixty to seventy percent of the 400 million diabetes patients worldwide suffer from nerve complications like distal sensory polyneuropathy (DSP), characterized by foot pain and loss of feeling. If left unchecked DSP progresses to severe symptoms such as gait instability, falls, and even amputation. Current treatments are limited, consisting of either pain medication or biofeedback devices to alleviate sensory loss. No individual therapeutic addresses both pain and sensory issues simultaneously. To complicate the matter further, all current methods suffer from lack of patient compliance (as low as 36%).

In response, the inventors developed a nerve stimulation device that treats both pain and loss of feeling at the same time. In addition, its nature as an implantable device effectively solves patient noncompliance issues.

Technology Overview:

The inventors designed a minimally invasive implantable system to activate nerves in the leg in response to pressure on of the foot. The device is composed of two implantable components: a pressure sensor implanted under the skin on the bottom surface of the foot, and a battery-powered  base unit implanted in the thigh connected to the leg nerves. When the foot sensors detect pressure, they wirelessly transmit signals to the base unit to provide nerve stimulation as therapy.


  • All-in-one treatment for DPS: treats both the pain and loss of feeling associated with DPS simultaneously, unlike current treatments which target each concern separately
  • Implant avoids possibility of patient noncompliance, resulting in more comprehensive treatment
  • Greatly reduce the risk of diabetic foot ulcers and diabetes-associated amputation

Proposed device for DSP. Pressure signals from subcutaneous sensors in the numb foot wirelessly drive electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves near the knee and result in therapeutic sensory feedback.

Stage of Development: 

  • Target Identified
  • Preclinical Discovery

Intellectual Property: 

Provisional Filed 

Desired Partnerships: 

  • License
  • Co-development
  • Start up

Patent Information:


Timothy Lucas
Andrew Richardson
Firooz Aflatouni
Mark Allen

Docket # 21-9530

For Information, Contact:

Neal Lemon
Associate Director, PSOM Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania


Obesity, Metabolic Disease and Diabetes