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European launch for new spinal cord stimulation therapy

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US medtech firm Boston Scientific has announced the European launch of a pioneering therapy for spinal cord stimulation (SCS).

Fast-acting sub-perception therapy (FAST) targets a new, distinct SCS mechanism of action and is delivered via the WaveWriter Alpha Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) Systems.

While traditional paraesthesia-free therapy can take up to a few days to achieve pain relief, FAST is designed to allow patients to experience profound paraesthesia-free pain relief in just minutes.

Patients and physicians can follow the immediate and significant results before the patient leaves the clinic.

The WaveWriter Alpha Spinal Cord Stimulator System was launched last year and is indicated as an aid in the management of chronic intractable pain.

SCS therapies are designed to provide pain relief by delivering pulses of mild electric current to the spinal cord to interrupt pain signals traveling to the brain.

Chronic pain is defined as continuous and long-term pain lasting more than 12 weeks. In Europe alone it impacts approximately 100 million people.

“FAST is a clear advancement in helping patients find pain relief,” said Prof Dr Jarek Maciaczyk, chair stereotactic and functional neurosurgery at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany.

“Typically we had to wait a few days to assess the full impact of SCS, but with the targeting and stimulation parameters of FAST we can provide paresthesia-free pain relief within minutes, which helps to evaluate the impact of the treatment in a much shorter timeframe and gives the patients back quality of life almost instantly.”


Research presented at the Society for Neuroscience Conference by Warren Grill’s team from Duke University, in collaboration with Boston Scientific, found that FAST sub-perception SCS generates rapid analgesia by precisely targeting the axons that engage a surround-inhibition effect – a new proposed mechanism of action for SCS.

According to clinical data presented at the recent North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) meeting, patients using FAST experienced a reduction of their average pain score from 6.5 to 1.3 within minutes.

Vincent Sourdaine, vice president neuromodulation of Boston Scientific, said: “The data showed that 29 of 33 patients (88 per cent) who received FAST Therapy during the trial responded well and reported highly significant pain relief during their SCS trial.

“While we continue to collect data to support FAST, the early findings show the potential to be a true gamechanger for pain patients.”

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