In a remarkable leap forward in spinal cord injury (SCI) treatment, ONWARD Medical has achieved a historic milestone by successfully conducting the first-in-human implant of its groundbreaking ARC-IM Stimulator. This achievement signifies a momentous breakthrough in medical technology, offering renewed hope and possibilities for individuals grappling with spinal cord injuries.
The Milestone Implantation
ONWARD Medical’s achievement centers around the successful implantation of the ARC-IM Stimulator, a revolutionary device designed to address the challenges of SCI. This groundbreaking technology delivers targeted ARC-IM Therapy directly to the spinal cord, with a specific focus on restoring movement and various functions impaired by spinal cord injuries. While ARC-IM Therapy has been extensively studied in clinical feasibility trials, this moment marks its pioneering application in the restoration of upper extremity function.
The Procedure: Precision and Expertise
The historic implantation procedures were carried out by the highly skilled neurosurgeon, Dr. Jocelyne Bloch, at the renowned Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland. The first procedure, involving the implantation of the ARC-IM Stimulator, took place on August 14, 2023. Remarkably, just nine days later, the patient underwent the implantation of the BCI WIMAGINE® from CEA-Clinatec. This intricate and meticulously executed series of procedures exemplify the fusion of cutting-edge medical technology and surgical expertise.
The BCI – Bridging Thoughts to Movement
The BCI, when coupled with the ARC-IM Stimulator, represents a technological marvel with the potential to revolutionize SCI treatment. This ingenious device is engineered to capture the intentions and thoughts of individuals paralyzed by spinal cord injuries. Leveraging the power of artificial intelligence, the BCI decodes these thoughts, enabling the ARC-IM Stimulator to deliver precise spinal cord stimulation. The result? Thought-driven upper extremity movement—a transformative development that offers hope and independence to those living with SCI.
Pioneering Research and Collaboration
This momentous achievement is a crucial component of an ongoing clinical study that explores the safety and efficacy of thought-initiated spinal cord stimulation after SCI. Building on ONWARD’s earlier announcement in May 2023, where ARC Therapy, combined with a BCI implant, facilitated augmented control over leg movement in a patient with SCI, this research is advancing the frontiers of medical science. Supported by a grant from the European Innovation Council (Reverse Paralysis project), this collaborative effort is led by NeuroRestore co-Directors Professor Grégoire Courtine and Dr. Jocelyne Bloch – alongside Guillaume Charvet, head of the Medical Device Development Lab at CEA-Clinatec.
A Glimpse into the Future
ONWARD Medical’s remarkable achievement foreshadows a future where individuals living with SCI can regain movement, function, and independence. As the company continues to explore the potential of ARC-IM Therapy and BCI integration, it brings us closer to realizing the dream of a life unencumbered by the limitations of spinal cord injuries.
Acknowledging Collaborative Excellence
Dave Marver, CEO of ONWARD, expressed his excitement and appreciation for the collaborative efforts involved in this research. He commended the teams at EPFL, CHUV, and CEA-Clinatec for their unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of medical technology. As this research progresses, ONWARD Medical anticipates sharing more information about its pioneering work, alongside a peer-reviewed publication detailing the procedures and results.
ONWARD Medical’s achievement is more than a medical breakthrough; it’s a beacon of hope for individuals affected by SCI. The successful implantation of the ARC-IM Stimulator and the seamless integration of a BCI usher in a new era of possibilities. With each step forward, we move closer to a world where spinal cord injuries are no longer insurmountable obstacles but challenges that can be overcome.
ONWARD Medical’s groundbreaking achievement—the first-in-human implant of its ARC-IM Stimulator —marks a transformative milestone in spinal cord injury (SCI) treatment. This pioneering technology, paired with a wireless brain-computer interface (BCI), offers hope for those living with SCI by enabling thought-driven upper extremity movement. Supported by ongoing research, this advancement promises to reshape the future of SCI treatment and restore independence to individuals with SCI.
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