University of Wisconsin

Kurt KaczmarekYuri DanilovPrinciple Investigators: Dr. Kurt Kaczmarek and Dr. Yuri Danilov

Disease: Multiple sclerosis

Research Description: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating disease that affects the nervous system and results in loss of function due to brain cell death. Drs. Kaczmarek and Danilov repurposed an electrical stimulation device called a PoNS (Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator) to make a direct impact on MS patient lives. In this clinical study, combining mild electrical stimulation of the tongue using the PoNS with physical therapy was able to create new nerve pathways in the brain, or to make current pathways work better. Following an intensive two-week training period, patients regained balance, movement, vision and hearing loss, reduced fatigue and improved sleep, cognitive and mood disorders. Use of the device at home can increase the functional improvements or maintain what was gained. This project led to testing on stroke, TBI and Parkinson's disease patients with similar impact. This device, with Cures Within Reach support, is now being managed by Helius Medical, and there are clinical trials underway to support FDA review and approval.

CWR funding role: Primary funder

Publication(s): Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation

Since publication:

→ Data are supporting large scale clinical trials

→ Data leveraged into larger philanthropic or government funding for this treatment

→ Findings from project led to unanticipated discoveries in additional neurodegenerative diseases, now in testing

→ Data are supporting commercialization



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