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Brain Computer Interface to Begin Trials

Implantable Brain-Computer Interface to Launch Human Trial

Synchron’s BCI doesn’t require open brain surgery for human implantation.

Source: ElsaRiva/Pixabay

The brain computer interface (BCI) industry is an emerging market that may help improve the quality of lives of those who are paralyzed or living with impaired speech or motor function. This week Synchron announced a new U.S. clinical trial in humans of its motor neuroprosthesis using a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The global brain-computer industry is expected to reach USD 3.7 billion by 2027 according to a February 2020 report by Grand View Research. Companies in the BCI space include Kernel, EMOTIV, Compumedics, NeuroSky, Mind Solutions, Inc. (OTC: VOIS), Natus Medical Incorporated, and Neuralink.

Synchron is aiming to be the first commercially available implantable brain-computer interface to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In August 2020, the Stentrode motor neuroprosthesis was granted Breakthrough Device designation by the FDA.

The Stentrode can be implanted with a minimally invasive two-hour procedure that is similar in concept to inserting cardiac stents and does not require open brain surgery. Patients can use their thoughts to wirelessly control external devices for texting, emailing, ecommerce, telemedicine, and more with the Stentrode.

Synchron will be collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), and Mount Sinai Health System for the clinical trial called the COMMAND trial. The plan is to test the safety and efficacy of its BCI in six paralyzed patients in the United States.

“This significant investment by NIH reflects the mature stage of Synchron’s technology. We are excited to be collaborating with three world-leading U.S. institutions to deliver on the long promise of brain computer interface technology.” said Synchron CEO Thomas Oxley, MD, PhD, in a release on Thursday.

“This technology has the potential to revolutionize our ability to care for patients by solving health challenges that have previously been insurmountable including communication with patients with certain types of paralysis,” stated David Putrino, PT, PhD, director of Rehabilitation Innovation for the Mount Sinai Health System, and associate professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai on Thursday.

The upcoming non-invasive, wireless BCI device trial in humans, is an important step towards offering those with impaired movement due to conditions such as paralysis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and more conditions, with greater capabilities and higher quality of life in the future.


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