Neuralink’s mind-blowing milestone: FDA gives Elon Musk’s brain-implant venture green light
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain-implant company, to start its first-in-human clinical trial. This marks a significant milestone for the company, which had previously faced challenges in obtaining approval.
In a tweet, Neuralink stated that the FDA’s decision was an essential first step towards helping many people through their technology, though further details on the study have yet to be revealed.
We are excited to share that we have received the FDA’s approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study!
This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our…
— Neuralink (@neuralink) May 25, 2023
Neuralink’s brain implants are envisioned to potentially cure a variety of conditions, such as obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia, as well as enable web browsing and telepathy. Musk previously expressed his confidence in the safety of the devices, even stating his willingness to implant them in his children.
Despite Musk’s predictions since 2019 that Neuralink would begin human trials, the company only sought FDA approval in early 2022. The application was initially rejected, with the FDA citing concerns over the device’s lithium battery, the potential migration of the implant’s wires within the brain, and the challenge of safely removing the device without causing brain tissue damage.
Founded in 2016, Neuralink has been the subject of multiple federal investigations.
In May, US lawmakers called for regulators to examine whether the composition of a panel overseeing animal testing at Neuralink contributed to flawed and rushed experiments. Additionally, the Department of Transportation is investigating whether the company illegally transported dangerous pathogens on chips removed from monkey brains without proper containment measures.
Furthermore, the US Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General is probing potential animal-welfare violations at Neuralink and scrutinising the USDA’s oversight of the company. Neuralink has not commented on these investigations, reports Channel News Asia.
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