The NANOCI project has been successfully completed, and the publication of final results in peer-reviewed journals is underway. The main results are already available on the Output section of the NANOCI website:
Combining all developments of the NANOCI project, the proof of concept for the gap-less interface between auditory neurons and the cochlear implant electrodes has been obtained in vivo (see figure). The in vitro setup confirmed the hypothesis that a significant reduction in energy used to stimulate the auditory neurons can be achieved, notably a five-fold reduction for the gapless position and a four-fold reduction, if stimulus parameters are optimized for the new interface. Together, these key findings lay the foundation to develop cochlear implant systems in the future with more specific and more energy-efficient stimulation of auditory neurons.
Guided growth of auditory neuronal fibers (green) from the organ of Corti (OC) region towards the drug-releasing nanomatrix (blue-shaded area) and cochlear implant electrode array (CI, pink) to form a gapless neuron:electrode interface in concept (A), in vivo (B) and merged (A+B = C). The electrode materials (silicone and platinum) are difficult to section and visualize, however the space occupied by the CI electrode is well delineated (B). The CI electrode implanted was larger compared to the original concept (difference of CI electrode area in C).