The Wall Street Journal, along with scores of other outlets including AP News, The New York Times, STAT, and WIRED, recently hailed a pilot study published in Nature Medicine demonstrating a breakthrough in post-stroke treatment to return mobility to the arms and hands of stroke patients. Indie Bio’s Reach Neuro (SF13 2022), which participated in the study, is working to translate the results to clinical use.
The study involved two stroke patients who had spaghetti-thin electrodes surgically implanted into the back of their necks for four weeks. During the experiments, the electrodes delivered a low current in rapid pulses to patients’ spinal cords. The patients were then assigned a series of tasks to test previously-impaired motor skills in their arms and hands. With sensors measuring muscle activity on the patients’ arms, the study reported astonishing results: patients not only experienced significantly improved grasp, reach, and transfer functions during the trials but also demonstrated enhanced mobility weeks after the electrodes were removed.
“This is actually a procedure done pretty regularly,” Reach Neuro CEO Marc Powell, the lead author on the study, told CBS. “These devices are used to treat chronic pain, and they’re implanted 50,000 times a year in the U.S. So, [it’s] a very safe, well-known piece of hardware.”
“The stimulation is something that is so life-changing for me and so many other people to come after me,” said Heather Rendulic, one of the patients in the study, in the same CBS interview. “It’s enabling me to move and do things that I haven’t done in so many years.”