The University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital have welcomed a $1.48 million Australia Federal Government grant that will expand a world first-in-human clinical trial of an implantable brain-computer interface designed to help Australians with upper limb paralysis restore functional independence. The Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt made the announcement on Thursday morning, June 25, 2020. The feasibility trial which began last year is based on a device called The Stentrode™ (https://www.synchronmed.com/stentrode)--a fully implantable therapeutic device that interacts with the nervous system from inside a blood vessel to translate brain commands. The feasibility trial is being carried out collaboratively with the University’s licensed commercialization partner Synchron Australia Pty Limited (https://www.synchronmed.com/). It is intended that, through Synchron, the University’s research will be translated into patients worldwide. The device is inserted via the blood vessels as part of a neuro-interventional procedure performed at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. The implant enables patients to achieve hands-free control of operating systems such as Windows, by replacing the mouse and keyboard with thought-controlled command functions. The latest funding announcement by Minister Hunt will: increase the number of patients who can participate in the trial; include patients who experience paralysis due to conditions beyond motor neuron disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (these conditions may include muscular dystrophy, stroke, and spinal cord injury; and expand the trial to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
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