Dallas, Texas-based MicroTransponder, a medical device firm is gearing up for three clinical trials to test a new form of neurostimulation treatment for stroke and tinnitus.
MicroTransponder’s VNS paired neurostimulation therapy has the potential to fundamentally change the standard of care for neurological disease,” said Dr. Clay Heighten, a founding partner of Green Park & Golf Ventures, in a news release. “The MicroTransponder team is adept at translating neuroscience research into clinical therapies and we look forward to their efforts to improve the lives of millions of patients living with neurological disorders.”
The money will be used to conduct three clinical trials, two aimed at stroke patients, and one at tinnitus patients, said Jordan Curnes MicroTransponder's president and COO, in an email.
The company has developed the Vivistim System designed to return upper-limb functionality for patients who have suffered a stroke, while the Serenity System is aimed toward tinnitus patients who experience the so-called constant ringing in the ears although there is no external cause for the sound.
|MicroTransponder's Vivistim Neurostimulation System|
Both the therapies are based on vagus nerve stimulation technology paired with other therapies, explained Curnes. For stroke patients, the implanted device delivers short bursts of electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve along with physical therapy for the upper limbs, that are part of standard rehabilitative therapy.
For tinnitus patients, along with the neurostimulation, patients wear a headset where they hear a specific tone that is above or below the tone they hear because of tinnitus.
The paired therapy helps to rewire the motor cortex for stroke patients and the auditory cortex for tinnitus patients, Curnes said. If this paired approach works, it will be a big benefit for patients because currently there is no standard treatment for tinnitus, he noted. In fact, the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders states that there is no cure and treatments can vary from hearing aids, to wearable sound generators and acoustic neural stimulation and anti-depression drugs.
For stroke patients, MicroTransponder's paired VNS treatment can bring back a level of upper-limb mobility, treating which over time can be very expensive. In fact it is estimated to be at an average of $150,000 per surviving stroke patient, Curnes pointed out.
The goal is to obtain CE Mark for both the devices in 2014 and then seek additional money to fund a clinical trial for a PMA submission in the U.S.