NeuroPace has announced that its first patient has been implanted with its responsive neurostimulation (RNS) system during the ongoing NAUTILUS clinical trials, which are being conducted on participants aged 12 and above. The RNS system is being tested to treat idiopathic generalised epilepsy (IGE), which makes up 15% to 20% of epilepsy cases. The overall prevalence of epilepsy is 4–10 cases in every 1,000 people, with an estimated five million people diagnosed with epilepsy worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). As IGE patient seizures are not controlled through medication, this product may help address the unmet needs of this population.
The system works by monitoring brain activity in order to recognise specific seizure patterns, which then automatically responds with electrical stimulation in order to prevent episodes before they begin. It also records ongoing electroencephalogram (EEG) data to assist physicians with customizing their patient care. RNS has already been shown to be effective against drug-resistant focal epilepsy and may prove to be a vital alternative to drug-based treatments.
As the prevalence of epilepsy is increasing, there will be a growing demand for non-medicated solutions as the perception of continuous drug use has become ill-favoured. NeuroPace’s RNS system may prove to be an essential option to treat this condition at its source.
While this technology is still far from being introduced to the market for IGE, it is still the only FDA-approved brain-responsive neurostimulation system on the market. Currently, NeuroPace has RNS products to treat refractory epilepsy, drug-resistant epilepsy and Lennox–Gastaut syndrome. With the addition of RNS to treat IGE, NeuroPace is steadily expanding the indications that their neuromodulation devices can cover and may become a larger player in the neuromodulation devices market. According to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, the market value of neuromodulation devices was $6.8bn last year and is expected to reach $10.7bn by 2030.
With the continued growth of the neuromodulator market, it is expected that NeuroPace’s growth will match accordingly. Unfortunately, a major barrier to the adoption of this technology is the cost. Currently, NeuroPace’s RNS system is priced between $35,000 and $40,000, which is not accessible to the average patient. If, through further research and development, NeuroPace can drive down the price to a more manageable figure, perhaps more widespread use of the product will be seen in the future, but at the moment, it would only apply to those with the available means to purchase it.
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