UK’s first clinical exoskeleton study

Johnny Dawson-EllisThe Stoke Mandeville Spinal Foundation is set to become the first UK spinal injuries organisation to undertake a clinical study into exoskeleton technology from June 3rd, and has chosen the ReWalk, supplied exclusively in the UK and Ireland by Cyclone Technologies, as the primary exoskeleton for the study.

The foundation, in partnership with the National Spinal Injuries Centre, will be evaluating the role of exoskeletons for people with chronic Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) during the study. Once the objective benefits of using exoskeletons, including moving from sit to stand, walking 10m and climbing stairs, have been demonstrated in research, the NHS will consider the use of exoskeletons to enhance standards of care in the future.

East Yorkshire-based Cyclone Technologies, a leading rehabilitation and training specialist for people with severe walking impairments, will offer primary training and engineering support during the study, with the company’s head physiotherapist, Matt White, to provide initial and ongoing training.

Cyclone Technologies’ Mobility Advisor, Johnny Dawson-Ellis, a 33 year-old paraplegic who mastered ReWalk training last year, will be demonstrating the exoskeleton to participants, while company Managing Director, Dave Hawkins, and Founder, Stuart Dunne, will work closely with the foundation to ensure that the project goes smoothly.

This study will be conducted at the National Spinal Injuries Centre in Aylesbury and will give researchers important information required to prepare for a bigger, multi-centre study.

Dr. Joost van Middendorp, Research Director at the Stoke Mandeville Spinal Foundation, said:

“We are thrilled to start this study and are currently recruiting ten volunteers. The outcomes of this explorative study are important for the preparation of bigger, multi-centre trials. Eventually, we aim to investigate whether exoskeletons do improve rehabilitation outcomes and result in greater independency and improved quality of life back in the community.”

Dave Hawkins, Managing Director at Cyclone Technologies, said:

“The world has already seen first-hand, through incredible people like Claire Lomas and our other customers, that the ReWalk is an amazing piece of technology which can truly transform lives. With it, people with severe walking impairments, such as paraplegia, can once again stand, walk and ascend and descend stairs, and we couldn’t be happier that the benefits offered by ReWalk will be documented in a clinical study for the very first time.”

The Stoke Mandeville Spinal Foundation is currently looking for volunteers to participate in the study, along with funding partners for the secondary, multi-centre trial, so please follow this link to find out more.

Cyclone Technologies are leading suppliers of bespoke, lightweight wheelchairs and are the UK’s foremost rehabilitation and training specialists for people with severe walking impairments. The company offers a full range of treatments, services and products from Functional Electrical Stimulation therapy and equipment and Far Infrared Heat Therapy, to ReWalk training and systems and multi-gyms from its purpose-built training facility, Cyclone Plus in East Yorkshire.

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