Paralysis therapy snags award for Purdue

Published: October 2, 2006  |  Source: purdueexponent.org
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A Purdue Research Park company received acclaim for a device that will better treat paralysis caused by severe spinal cord injuries.

Neurotech Business Report awarded the Andara Oscillating Field Stimulator the Gold Electrode Award for best new product on Friday. The award was given at the Neurotech Leaders Forum in San Francisco by the publication which highlights advancements in the field of neurotechnology.

The device, which took over two decades to materialize, will treat injuries within three weeks after they occur, said Richard Borgens, director of the Center of Paralysis Research at Purdue’s Institute for Applied Neurology.

The award is in recognition of the first use of a therapy proven to regenerate nerve fibers within the damaged spinal cord, said Borgens. “This has been awarded by leaders in medical innovation, commercialization, with scientific input from companies and corporations,” he said in an e-mail.

The device, which is about the size of a lipstick container, will improve prior treatments of spinal cord injury for patients with Quadriplegia and Tetraplegia through nerve Regeneration.

Borgens said there has only been one other treatment other than surgery offered since the end of World War II. “This treatment is the intravenous injection of steroids,” said Borgens. “It is highly controversial and has been removed from the �standard of care’ for the treatment of spinal cord injury, and most clinicians do not believe it even works.”

Borgens is the co-founder of the Andara Life Science company, which funded the research for the device. The company was bought by Cyberkinetics in February of this year and is located at the Purdue Research Park.

The stimulator was submitted for the Technologies Road Show, which featured technologies from Purdue and Indiana University, said Steven Gerrish, director of development for the Purdue Research Foundation.

“We pooled technologies and showcased them in the roadshow,” said Gerrish.

Researchers at Cyberkinetics anticipate further FDA approval for the product and will continue to improve the device in hopes to have it available for use by 2007.

“We are still working to productize the project,” said Gerrish. “They are continuing device improvements and co-developing drugs that may work in nerve regeneration.”

By Manda Ramirez
Purdue Exponent Staff Writer