The ESNR workshop took place on Feb. 17th, 2023 in Toronto, Canada and started with an overview of the workshop’s purpose: to understand the needs and focus on the key elements and next steps necessary to advance the use of electrical stimulation for regenerative medicine. We had two breakout sessions. The 23 attendees were divided into expertise discussion groups (biology, electrical engineering, wearable devices and clinical), alongside a commercialization expert. Groups were asked to discuss research highlights, current gaps in knowledge and representation/stakeholder gaps. Trainees were note-takers for each breakout session and presented a discussion summary. After a short break, ESNR members went into multi-disciplinary groups to discuss short- and long-term goals, what tools are required to achieve the goals, and what is needed to position the field for clinical application for neurological disorders. Again, the trainees presented to the full group. Some key findings, while not exhaustive, are outlined below.
(i) language, knowledge and expertise to go from cells to patients as we merge the science, engineering, and clinical research goals,
(ii) understanding the mechanisms underlying the therapies,
(iii) clinical relevance and practicalities for patients.
Gaps in representation:
(i) institutions to understand and discuss the impact of slow speed of research ethics boards responses for experiment approvals, IP, and tech transfers;
(ii) funding agencies, policy makers, and the public to understand and discuss what researchers need to move research forward in a practical direction,
(iii) individuals from the lived community to better understand the needs of patients and patient support groups, as well as additional racial representation.
These findings will guide our members as they consider strategies to impact national and international regenerative medicine communities. Attendees found this event to be a fantastic opportunity and greatly enjoyed meeting everyone. Student exchange, specialized conferences and future mutual international funding opportunities were discussed as future initiatives. A position paper with a call to action from this is event is currently being revised internally.