iBCI-CC – Industry association founded with brain implant companies in the USA

In January 2024, Elon Musk announced that the company he co-founded, Neuralink transplanted the first brain-computer interface into a human. This has drawn public attention to the topic of brain implants, even though they have been around for a long time - not just as a research object, but already in active use. Since the industry is now experiencing an upswing, an industry association has been founded. This one is called Implantable Brain Computer Interface Collaborative Community, or iBCI-CC for short. It is the first association of its kind to include the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

At the beginning of 2024, the iBCI-CC, an industry association made up of brain implant companies, the FDA, researchers, interest groups and other actors, was founded in the USA. Here you can find some information about it.
At the beginning of 2024, the iBCI-CC, an industry association made up of brain implant companies, the FDA, researchers, interest groups and other actors, was founded in the USA. Here you can find some information about it.

About the “Implantable Brain Computer-Interface Collaborative Community”

The iBCI-CC was created by Mass General Brigham, a nonprofit organization that says it is committed to patient care, research and education, and community service. Mass General Brigham is also a biomedical research organization with several Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals.

In addition to various companies active in the field of implantable brain-computer interfaces, the organization was also able to bring the FDA, the US Food and Drug Administration, on board for the new industry association iBCI-CC. But in addition to profit-oriented companies and official supervision, other groups should also become active in the association: researchers, clinical staff, drug manufacturers, patient associations and individuals with neurological diseases or limitations.

"Brain-computer interfaces have the potential to restore lost functions in patients with a variety of neurological diseases. However, there are still clinical, regulatory, coverage and reimbursement issues that could hinder patient access to this novel technology“said Dr. David McMullen, director of the FDA Office of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) and FDA member of the iBCI-CC.  "The iBCI-CC will serve as an open space to identify, discuss, and develop approaches to overcome these hurdles."

The mission of the iBCI-CC

The "Our Mission" section of the industry association's website states that it envisions a future in which implantable brain-computer interfaces (iBCIs) can improve the quality of life of individuals, allowing them to live more fulfilling and independent lives. To achieve this, a list of three measures was formulated, which sound good but are also very general:

  1. Leverage regulatory science tools to support insights generation and inform the community on topics relevant to iBCI
  2. Creating integrative platforms for addressing complex issues
  3. Convening diverse interest groups to facilitate discussion and education among each other and the broader public

The vision of the iBCI-CC

In addition to the tasks you set yourself, there are also goals to work towards. This work should be carried out through projects, for which individual working groups are responsible. Among other things, this should result in industry standards for the entire iBCI industry. The topics and projects to be submitted to working groups include, among others, the following points:

  • User priorities and preferences as well as iBCI use cases
  • Clinical trial endpoints
  • Clinical practice guidelines
  • Payer interactions and device categorization
  • Modular components, interoperability and ISO or other standards
  • Public messaging, BCI education and scientific education to support policy
  • Ethics, neural data privacy and data security

Members of the Implantable Brain Computer-Interface Collaborative Community

The association's charter, which is equivalent to an association's statutes with information on meetings, elections, quorum information, key points on membership and the like, shows 17 founding members who signed it. In addition to research institutions and interest groups, these also include some companies that deal with the development, transplantation and active use of brain implants. This list of fully US-based members looks like this:

  • Neurotech Network
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • BostonGene, Inc.
  • Paradromics, Inc.
  • North American SCI Consortium
  • Team Gleason
  • BCI Society
  • United Spinal Association
  • Blackrock Neurotech
  • ALS Heroes
  • ALS Association
  • Precision Neuroscience Corporation
  • Everything ALS
  • Synchron, Inc.
  • Institute on Neuroethics
  • Neuralink Corp.
  • Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Sources for further information on the topic

Here you can find the sources for this article, which contain further information and statements from people involved in the industry association:

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