Toronto (Aug. 6, 2012) - The first patient in The ADvance Study, a clinical trial being conducted in the U.S. and Canada to assess deep brain stimulation (DBS) in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease has successfully been implanted at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre, Toronto Western Hospital (TWH). The study is sponsored by Functional Neuromodulation.

DBS uses an implanted device to electronically stimulate the brain. The system includes a pacemaker-like device that is implanted beneath the skin in the patient's chest and two wires that deliver electrical pulses directly to a part of the brain that acts as a "super highway" connecting memory centers to other parts of the brain. The ADvance Study was developed following a promising pilot study of DBS in six Alzheimer's patients conducted at TWH.

ADvance is co-chaired by Andres Lozano, MD, PhD, R.R. Tasker Chair in Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery at the University Health Network and University of Toronto and Scientific Founder of the company. "Deep brain stimulation is a way of either quieting down over-active neurons in the brain or giving them a boost to get them going again," said Dr. Lozano. "In the case with Alzheimer's we believe that we can stimulate the brain circuits to keep on firing, where they previously would have slowed or stopped."

The device for DBS and the surgery have been well established in the treatment of conditions such as Parkinson's disease and dystonia.

"The ADvance Study is a critical next step in determining whether this therapy can offer a new hope for those with mild, or early-stage Alzheimer's," said Dr. Lozano. "With the support of Functional Neuromodulation, we are moving this research closer to becoming a possible new treatment for patients."

TWH is currently recruiting patients with mild Alzheimer's disease for The ADvance Study.  Patients may be eligible to participate in the study if they are 55 to 80 years old, live at home, are currently taking medication for Alzheimer's and have a caregiver who can accompany them to doctor visits.

In addition to TWH, patients are currently being recruited for the ADvance study at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, the University of Florida Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, and Banner Alzheimer's Institute. The study is expected to expand to a number of other leading Alzheimer's clinical research centers in the U.S.

For information about participating in the study, patients and their caregivers can visit www.ADvanceStudy4AD.com.

About Functional Neuromodulation Ltd.

Founded in Toronto in 2010, Functional Neuromodulation is dedicated to advancing the application of deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapies to help improve the lives of people with Alzheimer's and other memory and cognitive disorders. The Company has received funding from Genesys Capital, Foundation Medical Partners and Medtronic. Functional Neuromodulation has entered into a partnership with Medtronic, under which Medtronic is providing its state-of-the-art DBS devices for the ADvance Study and access to Medtronic's related device regulatory filings. For more information, visit www.functionalneuromodulation.com.

About the Krembil Neuroscience Centre

The Krembil Neuroscience Centre (KNC), located at Toronto Western Hospital, is home to one of the largest combined clinical and research neurological facilities in North America. Since opening in 2001, KNC has been recognized as a world leader through its research achievements, education and exemplary patient care. The centre focuses on the advancement, detection and treatment of neurological diseases and specializes in movement disorders, dementias, stroke, spinal cord injury, blinding eye diseases, epilepsy and cancer-related conditions. For more information please visit www.krembil.com

Media Contact

Phone: 416 340 4636
Email: UHN.News@uhn.ca

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