Hydrocephalus is a rare disease which causes a build up of fluid in the ventricles of the brain. The continuous flow of this fluid is how the body prevents the brain from injury, maintains proper pressure, and removes waste from the brain. An excess of this fluid, as present in hydrocephalus, can cause these normal functions to be impaired, and ultimately, can lead to brain damage.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) affects the body the same way as typical hydrocephalus. The build up of fluid simply occurs much more gradually in this form of the condition.
Most hydrocephalus patients receive a shunt to combat the effects of the disease. This shunt is in the form of a long and flexible tube. It drains fluid from the ventricles and distributes it to other parts of the body. Most patients require a shunt for their entire life.
Some common complications with shunts are infection, malfunction (in terms of blockages), or over/under-drainage.
But, exciting news is in store for hydrocephalus and NPH patients living with a shunt. Microbot Medical has recently announced positive results from a study analyzing a new self-cleaning shunt (SCSTM) they developed which could provide better outcomes for patients.
This study was an in-vitro laboratory examination. Their study showed that the device was able to effectively prevent shunt blockages. It confirmed positive results from the company’s two pre-clinical investigations of the SCSTM. Microbot Medical believes this singular device could revolutionize the treatment regime for this disease.
The first pre-clinical study was conducted at Wayne State University. It was an in-vitro study. This study supported the potential of SCSTM to prevent shunt blockages. The second pre-clinical examination was an in-vivo animal study. It was conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and it supported the safety of SCSTM.
Microbot Medical’s primary study utilized human glioblastoma cells to analyze obstruction, accumulation, and cell growth rates with SCSTM. The study lasted 30 days. Some of its major findings include-
- High levels of accumulation and cell growth in non-operating SCSTM
- Significant inhibition of cell growth in an operating SCSTM
- Continued operation of SCSTM even if cells had accumulated on it
- Ability of SCSTM to disintegrate current blockages
Follow Up Study
Microbot Medical is conducting a follow-up study at the two universities where it held its pre-clinical studies. This new study will use larger sample sizes than their first examinations of SCSTM. However, its primary and secondary endpoints of the safety and efficacy of SCSTM will remain the same. This study will be conducted both in-vitro and in-vivo.
The company hopes to share results from this follow-up study in the second half of this year. Ultimately, Microbot Medical hopes to see their SCSTM approved for hydrocephalus and NPH patients in the near future.
You can read more about this new potential device for hydrocephalus here.