May 18, 2006

Case's Ohio Neurostimulation and Neuromodulation Partnership awarded $8 million from Third Frontier Program

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New funding enhances Northeast Ohio's leadership in developing groundbreaking technology to restore areas of function to the body

The Biomedical Research and Commercialization Program (BRCP) of the State of Ohio Third Frontier Program has announced that Case Western Reserve University and its partners, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, NDI Medical, Inc., and MetroHealth Medical Center of Cleveland will receive $8 million to extend the research capabilities of the Ohio Neurostimulation and Neuromodulation Partnership (ONNP).

The partnership is dedicated to the commercialization of neurostimulation technologies that address critical neurological disorders. Led by P. Hunter Peckham, Donnell Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedics at Case, principal investigator and executive director of the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Center, the ONNP will use the funding to develop and market devices for peripheral nerve stimulation, cardiac function, motor function and pelvic control.

Peckham is known throughout the world for his research in the utilization of functional electrical stimulation to restore hand/arm control technique to individuals of high-level spinal cord injury (quadriplegia). Investigators at Case, the FES Center and its partners also pioneered the use of electrical stimulation for walking.

"There is a worldwide revolution in electronic medicine and ONNP has identified significant market opportunities for specific clinical applications of neurostimulation," Peckham said. "ONNP is leveraging the research activities at our collaborating academic and clinical institutions to develop products to meet these and future needs. We're honored to receive this generous funding from the state of Ohio. The continued support from the Third Frontier Program is a vote of confidence and validation of the work we're doing."

The award will provide for a diversification of the partnership's successful research and development efforts over the past three years. Research and development by the ONNP, established in 2003 with an initial Third Frontier award of $7.8 million, benefits people with paralysis, spinal cord injuries, pain/palsy, sleep apnea, strokes and urinary incontinence. The technology involved in the project is similar to the technology used by the late Christopher Reeve for breathing control.

Internationally, the market for neurological and neurostimulation products is growing.

"Ohio is rich in world class hospitals and cutting edge biomedical partnerships," said Gov. Bob Taft, who announced the new funding awards on May 12. "The Biomedical Research Commercialization Program supports organizations that are involved in research and committed to commercializing new innovations that will create jobs in the future."

The BRCP was created to support biomedical and biotech research, leading to commercialization in Ohio and long-term improvements to the health of Ohioans. The awards given last week bring the total to $105.5 million in BRCP awards. The Third Frontier Program and its awards are funded by the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and the 2005 Bond Issue. The BRCP is a key component of the Third Frontier Program, a sweeping 10-year plan to set Ohio's course for national leadership in the high-tech economy of the 21st century.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, May 18, 2006 07:00 AM | News Topics: Grants, HeadlinesMain, Research, School of Medicine

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