Focused Ultrasound Research
Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with spinal cord injury. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets in the spinal cord.
How it Works
Recent preclinical research is investigating focused ultrasound for temporary opening of the brain-spinal cord barrier to enhance delivery of genes, growth factors or other agents to improve recovery.
Researchers at John’s Hopkins University are working to develop a Band-Aid–sized implantable device from concept to human use. If it detects decreased blood flow to the spinal cord, the device would be used to apply focused ultrasound at the proper parameters to improve blood flow, stop inflammation, and offer pain relief or other neuroprotective therapies to prevent further damage to the injured spinal cord tissue.
While significant preclinical work has been accomplished, there is still much to be done before this technology will be widely available.
The primary options for treatment of spinal cord injury include structural stabilization of the bones of the spine, but little therapy for the damaged cord itself is currently available.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive means of enhancing blood flow or enhancing the delivery of therapeutic agents to the injured cord to improve recovery.
At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound treatment of spinal cord injury.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for spinal cord injury is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
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