University partnership tackles chronic pain, high blood pressure

Katelyn Faulks


The University of Minnesota has renewed a license agreement with a Minnesota startup company, International Cardio Corporation to continue researching how ultrasound technology can be used to treat hypertension, according to a University news release.

A team of University researchers, led by electrical and computer engineering professor Emad Ebbini, developed the ultrasound technology to treat atheroscleorosis — a condition that slowly blocks arteries and constricts them — by loosening the arteries through a thermal effect.

Current treatments for these conditions include catheter use and angioplasty; but they aren’t as precise as the ultrasound method, Ebbini said in the news release. The new method provides a non-invasive treatment and doesn’t damage any surrounding tissues.

CEO of ICC Dennis Selke said using ultrasound technology in this way will also reduce costs of treatment and “now that we know there is a path forward, we wanted to explore ways to treat other conditions that can respond to this [ultrasound] platform."

Now, the University and the ICC want to explore the method to see if it will work in other areas to manage chronic pain and hypertension, according to the University’s business blog. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 adults suffer from high blood pressure. If successful, the method will have the potential to treat anyone with chronic pain or high blood pressure.

The next stage, Sellke said in the release, is to transition from the lab to commercial development where they can integrate the method into everyday use.