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Monday, February 26, 2024
HomeTechnologyNerve-stimulation system, ARC, empowers quadriplegic patients to regain arm movement.

Nerve-stimulation system, ARC, empowers quadriplegic patients to regain arm movement.

Startup company Onward Medical achieved a major milestone with its ARC nerve stimulation therapy system by successfully installing a brainwave-driven implantable electrode array in a patient’s hands and arms. This development comes just five months after another patient received a similar system to regain a more natural walking gait. The ARC system includes the ARC-EX, an external stimulator array for bladder control and blood pressure regulation, as well as improving limb function and control. The ARC-IM, an implantable version of the stimulator array, was used in the recent study and is controlled through wearable components and a smartwatch. The patient’s brain signals are picked up by the BCI, converted into digital signals, and interpreted by a machine learning AI to control the stimulator array, allowing the patient to perform computer-controlled movements.

Led by neurosurgeon Dr. Jocelyne Bloch, medical professionals implanted the ARC-IM and the Clinatec BCI in a 46-year-old patient with a C4 spinal injury. The patient’s intent is translated into computer-controlled movement through the combined efforts of these two devices. While the patient’s adaptation to the new system is yet to be seen, the initial implant procedures were successful. Onward Medical aims to commercialize its external spinal cord stimulation solution, ARC-EX Therapy, by the second half of 2024 to restore hand and arm function. The company hopes that if the therapy continues to show promise, it could benefit patients by the end of the decade.

Onward Medical is part of a growing field of BCI-based startups that are using this technology for various medical conditions. In addition to spinal cord injury, the applications include the restoration of limb function, self-regulatory function after stroke or traumatic brain or spinal cord injury, physical rehabilitation, and a critical means of communication for individuals with Locked-In Syndrome. The success of the ARC nerve stimulation therapy system represents a significant advancement in the field of neurostimulation and offers hope for patients with various neurological conditions.

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