The NeuRX Diaphragm Pacing System. Image: Synapse Biomedical.

Diaphragm pacing might extend survival of some people with ALS according to a new study led by California Pacific Medical Center’s Jonathan Katz MD.  The study found that ALS patients implanted with the NeuRX DPS phrenic pacer appeared to live about 16 months (60%) longer vs. historical controls – after the initiation of noninvasive ventilation. 77 people with ALS participated. 

“The procedure may work,” says Katz. “But more studies need to be done.”

A key question is whether healthier people with ALS are in some way selected for diaphragm pacer implantation – patients who could live longer otherwise unassisted.  

“Until that’s excluded, we need to have a great deal of caution,” says Katz. “We need to study [the DPS] a lot more. We need randomized trials.”

A randomized controlled phase II clinical trial to further evaluate the potential benefits of the NeuRX DPS for people with ALS is now planned.  180 people with ALS are expected to participate.  Sites include California and New York.  Clinical trials are currently ongoing in England and France.

To learn more about the NeuRX DPS, check out DPS Sleep.  To find out about other emerging treatments for ALS, check out our full International ALS/MND Symposium meeting report ALS Trials and Tribulations.