Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm First to Pass Speedy Approval Process

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed the Innovation Pathway, a priority review program for new, breakthrough medical devices and announced the first submission: a brain-controlled, upper-extremity prosthetic that will serve as a pilot for the program.

The FDA has accepted its first submission from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to review a brain-controlled, upper-extremity prosthetic designed to restore near-natural arm, hand and finger function to patients suffering from spinal cord injury, stroke or amputation. The arm system uses a microchip implanted on the surface of the brain to record neuronal activity and decode the signals to actuate motor neurons that control the prosthesis. DARPA and the FDA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding addressing both the development and review of this project.

The proposed Innovation Pathway program includes the following features:

  • products would have to be truly pioneering technologies with the potential of revolutionizing patient care or health care delivery;
  • selected products would receive an Innovation Pathway memorandum from CDRH containing a proposed roadmap and timeline for device development, clinical assessment and regulatory review; and
  • products would be assigned a case manager, their important scientific issues would be identified and addressed earlier in the development process, and they might be able to qualify for flexible clinical trial protocols.

For more information read the original press release at prnewswire.com.

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