July 14, 2016 - 8:20 PM EDT
Print Email Article Font Down Font Up
Patent Issued for System and Method for Delivering Modulated Sub-Threshold Therapy to a Patient (USPTO 9381360)

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Biotech Business Week -- A patent by the inventor Hershey, Bradley L. (Valencia, CA), filed on January 20, 2015, was published online on July 5, 2016, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by NewsRx correspondents (see also Biotechnology Companies).

Patent number 9381360 is assigned to Boston Scientific Neuromodulation Corporation (Valencia, CA).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Implantable neuromodulation systems have proven therapeutic in a wide variety of diseases and disorders. Pacemakers and Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (ICDs) have proven highly effective in the treatment of a number of cardiac conditions (e.g., arrhythmias). Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) systems have long been accepted as a therapeutic modality for the treatment of chronic pain syndromes, and the application of tissue stimulation has begun to expand to additional applications such as angina pectoralis and incontinence. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) has also been applied therapeutically for well over a decade for the treatment of refractory chronic pain syndromes, and DBS has also recently been applied in additional areas such as movement disorders and epilepsy. Further, in recent investigations, Peripheral Nerve Stimulation (PNS) systems have demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of chronic pain syndromes and incontinence, and a number of additional applications are currently under investigation. Furthermore, Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) systems, such as the Freehand system by NeuroControl (Cleveland, Ohio), have been applied to restore some functionality to paralyzed extremities in spinal cord injury patients.

"These implantable neuromodulation systems typically include one or more electrode carrying stimulation leads, which are implanted at the desired stimulation site, and an implantable neuromodulation device (e.g., an implantable pulse generator (IPG)) implanted remotely from the stimulation site, but coupled either directly to the neuromodulation leads) or indirectly to the neuromodulation lead(s) via a lead extension. The neuromodulation system may further comprise a handheld external control device (e.g., a remote control (RC)) to remotely instruct the neuromodulator to generate electrical stimulation pulses in accordance with selected stimulation parameters.

"Electrical modulation energy may be delivered from the neuromodulation device to the electrodes in the form of an electrical pulsed waveform. Thus, electrical energy may be controllably delivered to the electrodes to therapeutically modulate neural tissue. The configuration of electrodes used to deliver electrical pulses to the targeted tissue constitutes an electrode configuration, with the electrodes capable of being selectively programmed to act as anodes (positive), cathodes (negative), or left off (zero). In other words, an electrode configuration represents the polarity being positive, negative, or zero. Other parameters that may be controlled or varied include the amplitude, width, and rate of the electrical pulses (which may be considered electrical pulse parameters) provided through the electrode array. Each electrode configuration, along with the electrical pulse parameters, can be referred to as a 'modulation parameter set.'

"With some neuromodulation systems, and in particular, those with independently controlled current or voltage sources, the distribution of the current to the electrodes (including the case of the neuromodulation device, which may act as an electrode) may be varied such that the current is supplied via numerous different electrode configurations. In different configurations, the electrodes may provide current or voltage in different relative percentages of positive and negative current or voltage to create different electrical current distributions (i.e., fractionalized electrode configurations).

"As briefly discussed above, an external control device can be used to instruct the neuromodulation device to generate electrical pulses in accordance with the selected modulation parameters. Typically, the modulation parameters programmed into the neuromodulation device can be adjusted by manipulating controls on the handheld external control device to modify the electrical modulation energy provided by the neuromodulation device system to the patient. Thus, in accordance with the modulation parameters programmed by the external control device, electrical pulses can be delivered from the neuromodulation device to the electrode(s) to modulate a volume of tissue in accordance with a set of modulation parameters and provide the desired efficacious therapy to the patient. The best modulation set will typically be one that delivers modulation energy to the volume of tissue that must be modulated in order to provide the therapeutic benefit (e.g., treatment of pain), while minimizing the volume of non-target tissue that is modulated.

"However, the number of electrodes available combined with the ability to generate a variety of complex electrical pulses, presents a huge selection of modulation parameter sets to the clinician or patient. For example, if the neuromodulation system to be programmed has an array of sixteen electrodes, millions of modulation parameter sets may be available for programming into the neuromodulation system. Today, neuromodulation systems may have up to thirty-two electrodes, thereby exponentially increasing the number of modulation parameters sets available for programming.

"To facilitate such selection, the clinician generally programs the neuromodulation device through a computerized programming system. This programming system can be a self-contained hardware/software system, or can be defined predominantly by software running on a standard personal computer (PC). The PC or custom hardware may actively control the characteristics of the electrical stimulation generated by the neuromodulation device to allow the optimum stimulation parameters to be determined based on patient feedback or other means and to subsequently program the neuromodulation device with the optimum modulation parameter sets.

"For example, in order to achieve an effective result from conventional SCS, the lead or leads must be placed in a location, such that the electrical modulation energy (in this case, electrical stimulation energy) creates a sensation known as paresthesia, which can be characterized as an alternative sensation that replaces the pain signals sensed by the patient. The paresthesia induced by the stimulation and perceived by the patient should be located in approximately the same place in the patient's body as the pain that is the target of treatment. If a lead is not correctly positioned, it is possible that the patient will receive little or no benefit from an implanted SOS system. Thus, correct lead placement can mean the difference between effective and ineffective pain therapy. When electrical leads are implanted within the patient, the computerized programming system, in the context of an operating room (OR) mapping procedure, may be used to instruct the neuromodulation device to apply electrical stimulation to test placement of the leads and/or electrodes, thereby assuring that the leads and/or electrodes are implanted in effective locations within the patient.

"Once the leads are correctly positioned, a fitting procedure, which may be referred to as a navigation session, may be performed using the computerized programming system to program the external control device, and if applicable the neuromodulation device, with a set of modulation parameters that best addresses the painful site. Thus, the navigation session may be used to pinpoint volume of activation (VOA) or areas correlating to the pain, Such programming ability is particularly advantageous for targeting the tissue during implantation, or after implantation should the leads gradually or unexpectedly move that would otherwise relocate the stimulation energy away from the target site. By reprogramming the neuromodulation device (typically by independently varying the stimulation energy on the electrodes), the volume of activation (VOA) can often be moved back to the effective pain site without having to re-operate on the patient in order to reposition the lead and its electrode array. When adjusting the volume of activation (VOA) relative to the tissue, it is desirable to make small changes in the proportions of current, so that changes in the spatial recruitment of nerve fibers will be perceived by the patient as being smooth and continuous and to have incremental targeting capability.

"Although alternative or artifactual sensations are usually tolerated relative to the sensation of pain, patients sometimes report these sensations to be uncomfortable, and therefore, they can be considered an adverse side-effect to neuromodulation therapy in some cases. Because the perception of paresthesia has been used as an indicator that the applied electrical energy is, in fact, alleviating the pain experienced by the patient, the amplitude of the applied electrical energy is generally adjusted to a level that causes the perception of paresthesia. It has been shown, however, that the delivery of sub-threshold electrical energy (e.g., high frequency pulsed electrical energy and/or low pulse width electrical energy) can be effective in providing neuromodulation therapy for chronic pain without causing paresthesia.

"In both conventional neuromodulation therapy described above where the patient feels paresthesia (super-threshold neuromodulation therapy) and sub-threshold neuromodulation therapy, common complications, caused due to cellular and synaptic mechanisms, include neurological phenomena, such as accommodation, adaption, and habituation, all of which entail a diminished neural response over time when there exists continuous input (in this case, electrical stimulation). For the purposes of this specification, we will use the term 'accommodation' to generally refer to any mechanism that diminishes neural response due to continuous input.

"Oftentimes, due to accommodation, a clinician may identify a modulation parameter set where a patient is obtaining great paresthesia, but when the clinician subsequently returns to this modulation parameter set, even within the same programming session, the patient may no longer receive the same paresthesia. While this complication may be addressed a little more easily in the case of super-threshold neuromodulation therapy, it is more difficult in the case of sub-threshold neuromodulation therapy because the patient may not be able to determine, due to the lack of paresthesia, whether, and when, accommodation has occurred. Thus, without realizing that accommodation has occurred, the neuromodulation energy may continue to be delivered to the patient without providing little or no benefit to the patient. Furthermore, previous methods of preventing accommodation involve varying the modulation parameters frequently such that the neuronal fibers do not acclimate to any particular set of modulation parameters. This method, while somewhat efficacious, is nevertheless limited in its efficacy given that the patterns of variance of the modulation parameters typically do not resemble physiologically relevant signals, due to which the neuronal fibers eventually accommodate to this type of neuromodulation therapy.

"There, thus, remains a need for an improved method and system that avoids or otherwise manages neurological accommodation caused by sub-threshold neuromodulation."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, NewsRx journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "In accordance with a first aspect of the present inventions, a method of providing neuromodulation therapy is provided. The method comprises delivering electrical energy to tissue of the patient in accordance with at least one modulation parameter, thereby providing therapy to the patient at a sub-threshold level (e.g., pulse rate greater than 1500 Hz, pulse width less than 100 .mu.s), and pseudo-randomly varying a value of the at least one modulation parameter based on a previous value of the at least one modulation parameter, such that the delivered electrical energy is continually maintained at the sub-threshold level.

"The method further comprises calculating the pseudo-randomly varied value based on a function of the previous value and a pseudo-randomly generated number, and delivering electrical energy having the pseudo-randomly varied value of the at least one modulation parameter. The pseudo-randomly varied value may be varied by both increasing and decreasing the value around a mean value of the at least one modulation parameter. The modulation parameter may be a pulse amplitude, a pulse duration or a pulse rate. The modulation parameter may be pseudo-randomly varied within a limited range. The limited range may be defined by user-input.

"The pseudo-random variance of the at least one modulation parameter mimics a physiologically relevant signal. The method further comprises delivering electrical energy in accordance with a plurality of pseudo-randomly varied values of the at least one modulation parameter, such that neural tissue is stimulated without undergoing neurological accommodation.

"In accordance with a second aspect of the present inventions, a neuromodulation system comprises a plurality of electrical terminals configured for being respectively coupled to a plurality of electrodes, modulation output circuitry configured for delivering electrical energy to the electrical terminals in accordance with at least one modulation parameter, thereby providing therapy to the patient at a sub-threshold level (e.g., pulse rate greater than 1500 Hz, pulse width less than 100 .mu.s), and control circuitry configured for controlling the modulation output circuitry in a manner that pseudo-randomly varies a value of the at least one modulation parameter based on a previous value of the at least one modulation parameter, such that the delivered electrical energy is continually maintained at the sub-threshold level.

"Other and further aspects and features of the invention will be evident from reading the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, which are intended to illustrate, not limit, the invention."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Hershey, Bradley L.. System and Method for Delivering Modulated Sub-Threshold Therapy to a Patient. U.S. Patent Number 9381360, filed January 20, 2015, and published online on July 5, 2016. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=9381360.PN.&OS=PN/9381360RS=PN/9381360

Keywords for this news article include: Therapy, Software, Computers, Cardiology, Paresthesia, Rheumatology, Adolescent Medicine, Sensation Disorders, Chronic Pain Syndrome, Biotechnology Companies, Nervous System Diseases, Somatosensory Disorders, Neurologic Manifestations, Boston Scientific Neuromodulation Corporation.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2016, NewsRx LLC

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

Source: Equities.com News (July 14, 2016 - 8:20 PM EDT)

News by QuoteMedia

Legal Notice