GTX medical is developing the Go-2 Targeted Epidural Spinal Stimulation (TESS) therapy, based upon the research from Prof. Grégoire Courtine from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Prof. Jocelyne Bloch from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) in Lausanne. They demonstrated that the delivery of electrical stimulation bursts targeting individual posterior roots of the spinal cord amplifies the residual commands from the brain, enabling voluntary control over specific leg muscles in people with severe spinal cord injury. Combined with an intensive rehabilitation program, this enables voluntary control of paralyzed leg muscles. This team has developed radically new neurotechnologies that re-establish leg motor control in pre-clinical studies, and recently performed in a first-in-man clinical study. The results and progresses of this research have been regularly published in Science, Nature and Nature Neuroscience.
Trains of spatially-selective electrical pulses were delivered in rats in a temporal sequence that coincides with the intended motor commands from the brain. When these spatiotemporal stimulation sequences are delivered during weight-assisted rehabilitation, they trigger a massive reorganization of both the relevant neural circuits in the spinal cord and residual pathways towards/from the brain. This anatomical response enables the brain to regain the capacity to transform contextual information into task-specific commands to execute refined motor behavior, including walking within a range of speeds and directions, climbing up a staircase and even swimming.
The MIT Technology Review elected the work of Prof. Grégoire Courtine as #1 Breakthrough of the year in 2017.