World’s smallest Deep Brain Stimulation device in clinical trials
The world’s smallest electrodes and battery for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is being tested in clinical trials in the UK.
The DBS system has been developed over the last decade by Bioinduction in Bristol to provide electrical stimulation of areas of the brain, The battery pack is small enough to sit on the skull, rather than having to be embedded in the patient’s chest.
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In this case, DBS is used in Parkinson’s to improve tremor and other movement symptoms not sufficiently controlled by medication. Regulatory approval exists for DBS across the world but take-up remains limited to less than 5% of people with Parkinson’s. This is in-part due to the cost and complexity of the surgical procedure to implant a DBS device.
The Picostim DBS system is about one third of the size of conventional DBS devices and being tested in a trial at the North Bristol NHS Trust. Up to 25 patients will undergo implantation of the new system and will be followed-up over a one-year period. Bioinducton has its own cleanroom for developing the medical equipment.
“We are delighted with how this first case went in the operating theatre and with how the patient’s symptoms have been improved over the last year. We are hopeful that if these findings hold-up, we will have a significant technical advance by which to improve Parkinson’s care across the world,” said Dr Alan Whone, Consultant Neurologist, at North Bristol NHS Trust, who is leading the trial.
“The impact has been amazing, the dystonia which is a side effect from the medication has gone. I can now walk two miles or more, whereas before DBS, I could get about 200 yards then I would have to rest. I am back playing golf, not as well as I used to, but that’s probably down to old age catching up; but at least I’m back playing,” said the trial’s first patient who received his device in November 2020.
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