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Abbott received expanded FDA clearance for its Deep Brain Stimulation system for Parkinson's

Dane Finley   

Abbott received expanded FDA clearance for its Deep Brain Stimulation system for Parkinson's

Medical device giant Abbott received expanded FDA clearance for its Infinity Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) system permitting it to target an additional area of the brain associated with Parkinson's Disease (PD), according to MobiHealth News.

Abbott's Deep Brain Stimulation System And Accompanied App

The Infinity DBS system connects to an iPad mini via Bluetooth, through which providers can program patients' therapy and monitor clinical outcomes via Abbott's software platform. Meanwhile, patients can manage their symptoms through an iPod touch-powered controller for the device.

For context, DBS is a neurosurgical procedure in which a device known as a neurostimulator is placed in a patient's brain and sends electrical impulses to specific brain targets to help treat movement disorders like PD.

The FDA's expanded clearance of Abbott's DBS system could help Abbott broaden its portfolio of devices targeting neurological conditions.

The new indication makes Abbott's system the only DBS system approved to target all the major brain regions associated with Parkinson's. With nearly 1 million people estimated to be living with PD in the US by 2020, the new indication could be a major development in helping patients more easily manage symptoms that traditional pharmaceuticals struggle to control.

And the new indication could make Abbott's DBS system more appealing and potentially effective for PD patients who are interested in treating themselves with a familiar, patient-friendly device - a trend that has recently entered the healthcare mainstream as patients turn to convenience-driven health tools.

And Abbott's DBS system opens the door for providers to tailor treatments to PD patients' unique needs. The FDA's clearance expands the options available to providers when treating patients with PD, and enables providers to tailor DBS system programming to each patient's individual needs.

This could pave the way for improved health outcomes for Parkinson's patients - and reflects a growing commitment among players in healthcare to fuel insights into the causes and treatments for PD: For example, 23andMe teamed up with the Michael J. Fox Foundation on a research collaboration in which deidentified genetic data from 23andMe users was studied to support research into the factors influencing PD.

The new FDA clearance could give Abbott a competitive edge in the connected device space - and highlights a larger trend of medical device giants embracing connected devices.

While medical device competitor Medtronic launched its own connected DBS device in October 2019, the expanded FDA clearance makes Abbott's DBS system the only system approved for all major targets used in the treatment of movement disorders, Parkinson's, and essential tremor.

However, we've seen other medical device firms branch out into the connected device space as of late: Continuous glucose monitor (CGM) developer Dexcom recently teamed up with Livongo in a deal that lets Dexcom users integrate their CGM data into Livongo's platform, for example.

The recent moves by entrenched players could indicate a growing interest in moving into the connected device realm, one of the fastest-growing segments in medicine - and PD patients and their care teams could end up benefiting from this increased uptake the most given the staggering $52 billion cost of Parkinson's in the US each year, $25.4 billion of which is attributable to direct medical costs like hospitalizations and medication.

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