Both St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) and Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) announced on the same day that their spinal cord stimulation systems are better than … their own spinal cord stimulation systems.
Confusing? Not really. Both companies, as well as the plethora of others entering the field of neuromodulation for chronic pain, are driving technology advancements, and both companies released their findings at the North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) 2015 Meeting.
St. Jude’s Burst Technology
St. Jude released data from its SUNBURST study showing its Burst stimulation provides “superior pain relief” as compared to traditional “tonic” stimulation. The study was conducted at 20 centers in the U.S., where 84 patients were randomized to receive tonic stimulation prior to Burst stimulation, or to receive Burst stimulation prior to tonic stimulation.
After patients’ 24 week visit, the data showed that Burst stimulation provided superior pain relief with 69% preferring it to tonic stimulation, and 91% reported reduced paresthesia (tingling sensation).
“Many U.S. pain physicians and their patients have long been hopeful for new options to treat chronic pain, and now the SUNBURST trial has clinically demonstrated that Burst stimulation is a meaningful therapy to support improved management of chronic pain while reducing, and in the majority of patients eliminating, paresthesia,” said Timothy R. Deer, M.D., president and chief executive officer of The Center for Pain Relief in Charleston, West Virginia, and Chairman of the SUNBURST study in a press release.
Boston Scientific’s Spectra Technology
Boston Scientific announced that data from its LUMINA study showed that its Precision Spectra system provides 70% greater low-back pain relief as compared to its previous generation system. The study followed 213 patients consecutively implanted with the new system and 213 patients consecutively implanted with its old system for 24 months.
Responder rates (greater than or equal to 50% pain reduction) at 24 months post-implant for the Spectra system were 74% for overall pain, 81% in leg pain only, and 71% in low back pain only. For low back pain, the improvement with Spectra was more than 70% compared to the group using the previous generation system.
“These data are impressive because they demonstrate sustained long term pain relief in an all-comers population; we did not exclude the type of challenging patients that physicians see every day,” said James North, M.D. of the Carolinas Pain Institute.
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) systems are used for the treatment of chronic intractable pain of the trunk and/or limbs.