The functions of most, if not all, organs in the body are influenced by electrical activity in nerves. Modulating this electrical activity with therapeutic devices, also known as “bioelectronic medicine,” could offer new treatment options for diverse diseases and conditions such as hypertension, heart failure, gastrointestinal disorders, type II diabetes, inflammatory disorders, and more. The Common Fund’s Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) program seeks to accelerate development of such therapies by generating maps and tools to identify and influence therapeutic targets.
- SPARC1 is constructing anatomical and functional datasets from organ-specific neural circuitry. This component includes small projects touching on a wide range of organs and tissues, as well as larger efforts focused on five major internal organs (lung, bladder, colon, stomach, and heart).
- SPARC2 is creating new tools and technologies to enable precise manipulation and measurement of nerve-organ interactions and their associated functions.
- SPARC3 is establishing effective research partnerships with clinicians, basic scientists, engineers, and private industry to pursue data-intensive, mechanistic clinical studies.
- SPARC4 is producing a suite of publicly available resources that allow data to be shared, cited, remixed, visualized, and computed. Users currently have access to dozens of curated datasets and protocols, interactive functional and anatomical 2D and 3D maps, and a computing platform that enables virtual experimentation.
- SPARC5 is generating anatomical and functional datasets from neural circuitry mediating visceral pain. This effort is associated with the NIH-wide Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative to speed scientific solutions to the national opioid public health crisis.
SPARC Awards: Other Transactions (OT2 and OT3) and Cooperative Agreements (U18 and U01)
Use the organ icons below to explore the SPARC research portfolio.
Please be aware that some projects span multiple target organs.
This page last reviewed on August 5, 2019