Issues (Archived 07/24/2007)
Magnetic Stimulation Shows Promise as the New Wave for Treating Depression
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which has its origins at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is currently the subject of clinical trials for the treatment of depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and addiction; providing hope to approximately 121 million individuals worldwide suffering from debilitating depressive disorders. Dr. Abraham Zangen is the primary inventor of this technology, which was patented through the NIH Office of Technology Transfer. Dr. Zangen designed the device while studying the brain reward system and addiction as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH. Presently, Dr. Zangen serves as a key researcher and co-founder of Brainsway, Inc., which has been granted an exclusive license from the NIH for the underlying patent.
TMS embodies a fascinating, state of the art device with far-reaching implications for other serious neurological conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, post traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson's disease, drug addiction, and schizophrenia. The invention is especially remarkable for its demonstrated safety as a non-invasive technique requiring no anesthesia, unlike electroconvulsive therapy, and its dearth of side-effects commonly found with most anti-depressive drugs.
TMS comprises a magnetic stimulator that when positioned in contact with a subject's head magnetically stimulates deep brain regions, such as the nucleus accumbens, associated with the biological mechanism underlying drug abuse.
The license and additional company-owned patents serve as the foundation for Brainsway's platform Deep TMS system. The company has demonstrated the system's safety through clinical trials conducted in healthy volunteers at Tel Aviv University in Israel and is currently performing clinical investigations under FDA guidelines to demonstrate efficacy in patients suffering major clinical depression and schizophrenia.
Brainsway's TMS represents a potentially significant advancement for the treatment of depression and holds the promise of becoming a platform for the next wave of safe, less invasive alternatives to current treatments.