Home Industry Development NICTA spins off pain relief technology

NICTA has spun out Saluda Medical, a company with technology for pain relief via spinal cord stimulation.

The spin out of Saluda Medical from NICTA was achieved with private investments totalling $5 million.

Otherwise intractable chronic pain can be treated with implants that stimulate the spinal cord. The problem with conventional systems is that they require manual adjustments by the patient, and can be disrupted by coughing or sudden movements, resulting in increased pain.

Saluda's technology automatically monitors the 'pain' signal and adjusts the stimulation appropriately.

The technology has been in development at NICTA for four years, and a prototype has been used by 25 patients at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital in collaboration with Professor Michael Cousins of the Pain Management Institute at the University of Sydney.

"The fundamental concepts of this new technology represent a transformational change in neuromodulation methods for the treatment of chronic pain," said Professor Cousins.

"For my patients already I can see that the measurement of electrical activity in the nerves of the spinal cord allows us to finely tune the treatment to each patient’s needs."

NICTA CEO Hugh Durrant-Whyte said the team is "turning important new knowledge about pain management and neuro-stimulation into potential commercial outcomes which could grow into a new industry for Australia."

The investment funds raised will be used to develop the technology for clinical application.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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