- A team of doctors at the Cleveland Clinic has implanted the first-ever deep brain stimulation system (DBS) in a stroke victim, as part of an ongoing clinical trial evaluating the procedure’s potential to improve movement during stroke recovery.
- By coupling DBS with physical therapy, the goal is to increase rehabilitation beyond what physical therapy could achieve alone, according to Andre Machado, team leader and chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Institute.
- The Clinic said the patient is currently recovering at home and will begin to receive DBS during physical therapy after a few weeks of initial rehabilitation.
The six-hour procedure took place on Dec. 19 and involved implanting electrodes in the cerebellum, a part of the brain that is important in motor control. A pacemaker device connected to the electrodes sends small electric pulses to the patient’s brain, stimulating motor responses.
“If this research succeeds, it is a new hope for patients that have suffered a stroke and have remained paralyzed after a stroke,” Machado said. “It is an opportunity to allow our patients to rehabilitate and gain function and therefore gain independence.” Stroke is the No. 1 cause of long-term disabilities in the U.S., with up to a third of victims suffering from chronic, disabling motor deficits, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Machado patented the DBS approach to stroke recovery and licensed the patents to Boston Scientific, which developed the Vercise DBS systems used in the clinical trial. Cleveland Clinic Innovations spun off a for-profit enterprise in 2010 called Enspire DBS Therapy to finance the trial and commercialize the product. The National Institutes of Health is co-funding the study via a grant, the Clinic said.
DBS is already being used to help patients with Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other neurological disorders. According to a recent report by Sandler Research, the global DBS market will reach $906 billion by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10.59% between now and then.