Kessler Foundation Receives $4 Million In Federal Funding To Advance Spinal Cord Injury Research In Upper Extremity Motor Function
Senior Research Scientist Ghaith J. Androwis, PhD, will evaluate long-term effects of improving hand/wrist/elbow capability with myoelectric orthosis MyoPro
East Hanover, NJ – June 26, 2023 – Ghaith J. Androwis, PhD, senior research scientist in the Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research and director of the Center’s Rehabilitation Robotics and Research Laboratory at Kessler Foundation received a $4 million grant from the Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) to examine the effect of a myoelectric orthosis by Myomo, Inc. for individuals with upper extremity impairments due to spinal cord injury (SCI). CDMRP funds research development that advances research solutions that will lead to cures or improvements in patient care or breakthrough technologies and resources for clinical benefit.
Restoration of upper extremity motor function in people with spinal cord injury remains a high priority in rehabilitation and the field of assistive technology. This population, including many active service men and women, and veterans, has limited capacity to move or perform basic activities of daily living, which significantly reduces their quality of life and level of independence.
“The goal of this study is to evaluate the effects of an upper extremity myoelectric-powered wearable orthoses (the UE-MPWO called MyoPro®) specifically designed to restore hand/wrist/elbow movement capability,” said Dr. Androwis. “The proposed randomized controlled trial using the MyoPro device may help increase the strength of the participating muscles, range of motion of the joints, and the ability to perform daily tasks involving using upper extremity in individuals with spinal cord injury,” he explained. “The MyoPro orthosis can assist elbow and hand function with built-in motors that are activated by patients’ intended motion, as represented by the residue voluntary muscle activities detected by the device’s sensors,” Dr. Androwis added.
The impact of the data generated from this clinical trial investigation could advance application of new orthotic and prosthetic technologies to treat disabilities as a result of injuries or diseases such as spinal cord injury and potentially persons with other neurological impairments. “This clinical trial investigation would provide clinicians and therapists with an initial, but stronger basis, for integrating such an orthosis into regimens for managing upper extremity impairments,” claimed Dr. Androwis, adding, “This would represent a significant improvement to the existing paradigms of treating hand/arm disabilities in persons with spinal cord injury.”
Dr. Androwis’ study titled, “The Utilization Effects of Powered Wearable Orthotics in Improving Upper Extremity Function and Activities of Daily Living (ADL) in Persons with SCI,” was co-authored by Steven Kirshblum, MD, chief medical officer for Kessler Foundation and Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation (a Select Medical hospital) and Guang H. Yue, PhD, director of the Foundation’s Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research.
This work was supported by The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, in the amount of $3,998,455.00, through the Orthotics and Prosthetics Outcomes Research Program, Clinical Trial Award - Funding Level 2 under Award No. HT9425-23-1-0189. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.
About Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)
The CDMRP originated in 1992 via a Congressional appropriation to foster novel approaches to biomedical research in response to the expressed needs of its stakeholders – the American public, the military, and Congress. The CDMRP fills research gaps by funding high impact, high risk and high gain projects that other agencies may not venture to fund. While individual programs are unique in their focus, all of the programs managed by the CDMRP share the common goal of advancing paradigm shifting research, solutions that will lead to cures or improvements in patient care, or breakthrough technologies and resources for clinical benefit. The CDMRP strives to transform health care for service members and the American public through innovative and impactful research. Visit CDMRP, Department of Defense for more information.
About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research. Our scientists seek to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes, including employment, for adults and children with neurological and developmental disabilities of the brain and spinal cord including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and autism. Kessler Foundation also leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities.