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Patent Given for Non-Invasive Spinal Stimulation Technology

Spine model

(Michael Dorausch, Flickr)

2 June 2016. A New York neuroscientist who invented a device for stimulating the spinal cord from outside the body to relieve muscle spasticity and paralysis, received a patent for his technology. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded patent number 9,283,391 to physical therapy professor Zaghloul Ahmed at College of Staten Island, a division of City University of New York, which was assigned the rights to the invention.

Ahmed is scientific founder of PathMaker Neurosystems Inc. in Boston, the company commercializing the technology. PathMaker is developing systems that harness electronic current stimulation of the spinal cord and muscles to treat muscle paralysis, spasticity, and weakness often found in disorders such as stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury. Unlike other technologies that require surgical implants to deliver the current, the company’s devices deliver electronic stimulation from electrodes placed on the skin at multiple points on the body.

The patent covers PathMaker’s basic self-contained neurostimulation technology, including connections to address the spinal cord and those targeting specific organs or tissue affected by disease or injury. The patented invention includes the device housing and power source.

Signals from PathMaker devices are sent to muscles through nerve pathways that are damaged, yet still intact. One electrode is placed at a designated position over the spinal cord, while other electrodes are placed at points on the body where muscles require stimulation. The company says preclinical studies with animals and early human feasibility studies indicate the technology can help relieve muscle paralysis and weakness, as well as disorders in muscle tone.

PathMaker says the patent is being applied to the company’s lead device, the MyoRegulator PM-2200 system, providing spinal cord stimulation functions that relieve spasticity in muscles, marked by stiffness and involuntary movements associated with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and stroke, among other conditions. The treatment in this case is aimed at hyperexcitable spinal cord circuits where stimulation can regulate aberrant signals causing the muscles’ spasticity.

The MyoRegulator PM-2200 system is being tested in an early-stage clinical trial at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York testing the device as a treatment for muscle spasticity, which began in April 2016. In October 2015, the MyoRegulator PM-2200 received Expedited Access Pathway designation from FDA. The agency grants this designation to devices intended to treat or diagnose life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions, and where no other device of its kind exists or one that offers a clinically meaningful advantage over existing systems.

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