Deep Brain Stimulation System Aimed at More Precise, Safer Targeting in Parkinson’s Patients

José Lopes, PhD avatar

by José Lopes, PhD |

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A tool called Vercise Cartesia Directional Lead is intended to provide more precise deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers at UHealth — University of Miami Health System recently became the first in the Eastern U.S. and the second in the country to adopt the system.

DBS is a surgical approach used to treat Parkinson’s motor symptoms, normally in patients who no longer respond effectively to medications and show a reappearance or worsening of symptoms such as tremors and dyskinesia — involuntary, jerky movements.

In DBS, leads, or wires with electrodes at the tips, are implanted in selected regions of the brain. They are connected to a pacemaker-like neurostimulator to provide electrical impulses.

Vercise Cartesia Directional Lead, an implantable pulse generator manufactured by Boston Scientific, contains eight individually controlled electrodes on each lead for more precise control of the shape, range, position, and direction of electrical stimulation to the brain.

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The device’s precise stimulation is also key for lessening side effects. The pulse generator has contoured edges designed to minimize erosion and increase patient comfort. It comes with a rechargeable system with a battery longevity of a minimum of 15 years. Compatible with the directional lead, the Vercise PC DBS System offers the same stimulation ability, with a projected battery duration of at least three years with standard settings.

“As technology advances, we are able to further fine tune and enhance DBS for people with Parkinson’s,” Corneliu Luca, MD, PhD, a professor of neurology and director of UHealth’s Deep Brain Stimulation Program, said in a press release.

Software called Neural Navigator 2 was designed for flexible programming, suitable for patients throughout their disease course. In addition, Clinical Effects Mapping software provides a summary of therapeutic benefits and side effects, while keeping track of the patient’s history on the pulse generator.

“Our mission is to offer Parkinson’s patients throughout Florida the latest treatment and most cutting-edge technology to improve their quality of life. It’s always exciting to add new therapies to our comprehensive treatment program.” said Jonathan R. Jagid, MD, a neurosurgeon at UHealth and an associate professor of neurological surgery who has performed more than 1,000 DBS surgeries.

Both Luca and Jagid have played a key role in clinical trials of this DBS system for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as part of UHealth’s Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders. Europe and Australia have also already approved the system.

Two trials — one called INTREPID (NCT01839396) conducted in the U.S. and another called VANTAGE (NCT01221948), which took place in Europe — showed that the Vercise system improved movement control in most patients, while also being associated with better quality of life.

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