SPR Therapeutics has reported positive results from a trial investigating its peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) device to help knee replacement patients experiencing chronic knee pain. 

The prospective trial investigated US-based SPR Therapeutics’ SPRINT PNS system over 60 days of therapy in patients with postoperative pain after total knee arthroplasty, also known as total knee replacement surgery.

The company stated that up to 20% of patients undergoing a total knee arthroplasty experience pain more than three months after surgery.

SPR Therapeutics’ device uses a percutaneous PNS approach, which involves stimulating peripheral nerves in the region of pain. Electrical pulses are delivered to the nerves via thin leads under the skin which alter the transmission of pain signals to the brain.

The technology is already US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for the symptomatic relief of chronic, intractable pain, post-surgical and post-traumatic pain, in addition to postoperative pain.

Compared to a placebo group in the trial, patients receiving the SPRINT PNS system experienced greater pain relief, according to the company. Within the PNS treatment group, 60% of responders met the primary endpoint – measured as more than 50% pain relief during the final four weeks of treatment compared to baseline. From the placebo group, 24% met the endpoint.

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SPR Therapeutics added that PNS patients exhibited a 47% increase in a walking ability test, compared to a small decline in the placebo group. No serious study-related adverse events were reported from the study.

SPR consultant Dr David Dickerson said in a statement: “We saw clear pain reduction in patients’ chronic post-replacement knee pain receiving PNS therapy, our primary focus.

“Seeing the additional impact on walking ability and quality of life measures in this trial was also remarkable, as those improvements reflect a meaningful, day-to-day impact of the PNS therapy.”

Founded in 2010, SPR Therapeutics secured $85m in financing earlier this year, including $25m in Series D-1 insider equity and a $60m debt facility.

Neuromodulation devices are becoming a major sector within healthcare as technology becomes less invasive and more accessible. A report by GlobalData estimates the global neuromodulation device market will be worth $11.4bn by 2033, up from $6bn in 2022.

Also in the chronic pain management device space is Neuronoff with its implantable electrode. The company is currently conducting a first-in-human trial with its device. Meanwhile, US-based Nalu Medical has reported positive results from its neurostimulation system trial for shoulder, lower back, and knee pain, among others. After 12 months, 87% of subjects using the Nalu system achieved more than 50% pain relief, with a 73% average pain reduction.