News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Levin Furniture

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Meaden & Moore


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Health and Medicine


A more direct way to treat pain is being developed in Cleveland
A new electric nerve stimulation device for drug free joint pain relief is nearing FDA approval
by WKSU's KEVIN NIEDERMIER


Reporter
Kevin Niedermier
 
An electronic stimulator for pain relief being developed by SPR Therapeutics in Cleveland. Unlike current electronic pain relievers, a thin wire on this device can be inserted directly into a moving joint.
Courtesy of Kevin Niedermier
Download (WKSU Only)

A biomedical company in Cleveland is developing a device that helps ease chronic pain without drugs. SPR Therapeutics is working on an electrical stimulation device that targets specific nerves…a different approach than the devices developed in the 1960s. As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, SPR Therapeutics is about two years away from FDA approval.

 

Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:48)


(Click image for larger view.)

An estimated 100million people experience chronic pain, a condition that can lead to depression, loss of sleep and productivity. For decades, electrical stimulation has been used to ease pain from spinal conditions. That method uses electrodes placed on the skin. SPR’s device is different because a wire attached to a small device can be inserted directly into a nerve in a moving joint. Clinical testing began in 2009 on shoulder pain associated with stroke. Tom Galiea suffered a serious stroke 13 years ago.  Doctors told him he would never walk, talk or use his left side again.  Galiea has proven them wrong, and says the key to his recovery was easing his shoulder pain. In 2009, he became one of the first patients to test SPR’s new technology.

One of the first clinical trial patients has remained pain-free

“Basically I was on pain pills all the time, it was so bad I couldn’t sleep. I was using compress, heat wraps and shoulders straps, I had to have my arm up.  I did the 4 week program where it stimulated that muscle.  And I know, probably after the first week it was amazing how I had that big of a transformation.”

Galiea, now 62, has not had pain in that shoulder since the trial. He’s gone on to walk in a two-mile charity event, and he councils other stroke victims on getting better. Maria Bennett is president of SPR Therapeutics. She says not all of the trial patients have had such good results, but many have. Bennett says the key is replacing the old method of electrodes on the skin with a hair-sized wire that can be implanted during a quick doctor’s office visit.

The new device works inside the body, unlike older technology

“By putting a portion of the wire inside the body it can target the area of pain, but it also bypasses anything the patient would feel on the skin. “

Bennett says the old units can be effective, but sometimes turning them up high enough isn’t possible because of the pain they cause on the skin’s  surface. With the SPR system, the patient wears a stimulator unit about one-third the size of a deck of cards near the site of the pain. The unit is held on the body with a pad that contains a battery that powers the device for a prescribed amount of time, like a time-released pill.                                            SPR Therapeutics mechanical engineer Jonathon Sakai says providing a precise amount of stimulation is crucial.

Keep patients from overusing the stimulation is important

“When we’re stimulating nerve and tissue directly, the amount of error you can have with this electrical signal is extremely close, it’s set by international standards. The device can be programed by a clinician and they specify a range of theraphy so the patient cannot over do it.”

Dr. Salim Hayek is chief of pain management at University Hospitals in Cleveland.  He says anything that can replace drug therapy is good, and the new technology is a promising advancement over the older devices.

“The idea was that if you stimulate a sensory nerve a lot, then it’ll distract the pain signal and take away pain. This newer application is stimulating a nerve that goes to a muscle and this is a new venue and application of stimulation. They’ve shown, Dr. Chea, a collogue, that it can control the pain in a good proportion of their patients.”

SPR hope to apply the new device to several types of pain

SPR Therapeutics stimulator is expected to be approved for shoulder pain use in the U.S. in 2015 or 2016. It is already approved for that use in Australia and Europe. The company is also conducting clinical trials to use the device for pain in other joints, and for pain from amputations. A U.S. military grant is funding the amputation trials at the Walter Reed Veterans Hospital.


Related Links & Resources
SPR Therapeutics

Listener Comments:

Amazing!! Outstanding work!!


Posted by: Norma F. Boggs (GA) on February 15, 2014 11:02AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

The postal workers union is challenging mail-sorting closures in Ohio
Do not close the akron facilaty for mail processing. This will severly deminish mail service to the northeast ohio area, Cleveland can not handle this burden.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park OK's sharpshooters to thin deer herds
In this article you mention that the Mule Deer Foundation is a "hunting group" in reality the Mule Deer Foundation is a conservation group that is over 25 years...

Clarence Bozeman: In the driver's seat of history
I believe he was a teacher of mine as James Ford Rhodes. My favorite teacher of all time! Loved learning this part of his amazing history.

Cleveland RTA is moving Public Square bus stops beginning this week
I am very confused. Why are you taking one or more of the park and ride 246 out of service in the morning. I looking over the new schedule I see that there ar...

Canton school board will vote Wednesday on its high school merger
Great to see that THE REPOSITORY is advising a 'no' vote for now! Another point, besides all the Very accurate points already made against this move is the fac...

Some parents opting their students out of Common Core test
I am an 8th grader at a school in Allen County. I have just recently taken the ELA performance based assessment and found it extremely difficult. It asked me a ...

Fallout from the Ohio Supreme Court Munroe Falls ruling
The comment by Nathan Johnson from OEC is confusing. Instead of cities being 'emboldened' to craft zoning laws that were just stricken down by this ruling, comm...

Stopping sediment dumping in Lake Erie
Ah, yes, the Army Coro of Engineers, the geniuses that designed the levee system in New Orleans that has made the flooding worse due to no sediment reaching the...

Ohio charter school critic says reform bills are a good step
The cold truth is that these charter schools are offering services beyond the what the state tests can guage. Parents and students have a choice and they are ch...

State law trumps restrictions on oil and gas drilling in Munroe Falls
Justice O'Neill's quote brings up a point I wish WKSU would address: since, unlike for Federal judges, our judges here in Ohio are elected, and therefore respo...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University