Washington: Fancy the self-healing power of the Hulk or Wolverine? This superhuman power may no longer be confined to the realm of fiction if researchers have their way to implant a tiny pacemaker-like device in the bodies of ordinary people.
A military-sponsored programme in the US known as Electrical Prescriptions or ElectRx aims to develop the device so tiny that it can be implanted using only a needle.
The device will use electrical impulses to monitor the body's organs, healing these crucial parts when they become infected or injured.
The programme could reduce dependence on pharmaceutical drugs and offer a new way to treat illnesses, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the branch of the US Department of Defense responsible for developing the programme.
The device could help treat a host of painful, inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome (a condition that causes inflammation throughout the body) and inflammatory bowel disease, Live Science reported.
"The technology DARPA plans to develop through the ElectRx programme could fundamentally change the manner in which doctors diagnose, monitor and treat injury and illness," said Doug Weber, a programme manager at DARPA.
"It would continually assess conditions and provide stimulus patterns tailored to help maintain healthy organ function, helping patients get healthy and stay healthy using their body's own systems," he added.
The idea for the technology is based on a biological process known as neuromodulation, in which the peripheral nervous system (the nerves that connect every other part of the body to the brain and spinal cord) monitors the status of internal organs and regulate the body's responses to infection and disease.
"The implant that DARPA hopes to develop is something akin to a tiny, intelligent pacemaker," Weber said.
"The device would be implanted into the body, where it would continually assess a person's condition and provide any necessary stimulus to the nerves to help maintain healthy organ function," he added.