A 37-year-old British man unable to walk because of a serious spinal cord injury has stood up and ‘walked’ with the aid of robotics.
The man who is wheelchair-bound was mobilised by the robotic system, known as the REX in less than four minutes.
He also completed a prescribed set of exercises. He was taking part in a trial of a new robotic medical device called REX designed for wheelchair users and people with mobility impairments such as paralysis.
The trial, called RAPPER II is a multicentre International 100 patient study, approved by the NHS National Institute of Health Research, designed to measure the time taken for wheelchair users to:
• mobilise in a REX
• complete a set of prescribed exercises
The clinical trial will also look at whether people with different levels of spinal injury, can be safely treated with REX.
What is REX?
REX is the world’s first hands free robotic walking and exercising device for use by wheelchair users (spinal cord injury, MS, Stroke, Muscular Dystrophy), designed by two Scottish engineers.
Wheelchair users are at risk of developing numerous medical complications from extended periods of sitting. So by enabling them to spend more time standing, walking and exercising, REX may offer significant health benefits.
Where are the clinical trials of REX taking place
The UK will lead the trials and other countries will follow. The first trial site is the specialist neuro-rehabilitation centre called PhysioFunction, near Northampton. Rex Bionics, the company developing this technology expects to add further sites, in the UK as well as overseas.
Who can take part in the clinical trial?
The physiotherapists at PhysioFunction will be able to treat volunteers (who have a spinal injury), free of charge, from all over the UK and overseas, provided they meet the inclusion criteria for the trial.
Volunteers who would like to be considered for participation in the trial should contact the dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org or call UK 0800 043 0327
The principle Investigator for RAPPER II Trial is Dr Nick Birch, MBBS FRCS (Orth), Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon is the principle Investigator for the RAPPER II Trial.
Where will the results be published?
The results from the UK volunteers will be collated with the results from other European sites with the intention to present data from the first cohort of patients at a medical conference before the end of 2015
The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA)
The Spinal Injuries Association, the UK charity providing support and information for spinal cord injured community, is helping to raise awareness of the trial.