A Medical Device Daily

St. Jude Medical (St. Paul, Minnesota) reported that it has been awarded a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for treating depression using neurostimulation therapy in an area of the brain known as Brodmann Area 25.

Brodmann Area 25 is a structure within the subcallosal gyrus region of the brain. It is the focus of the St. Jude Medical BROADEN (BROdmann Area 25 DEep brain Neuromodulation) study, which is evaluating whether deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy can help people who suffer from major depressive disorder, a severe form of depression.

"This patent is a cornerstone in developing our approach to deep brain stimulation for depression, which is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. among illnesses," said Chris Chavez, president of St. Jude Medical's ANS Division. "The BROADEN study provides hope for a meaningful new therapy to the millions of patients still seeking treatment for their severe depression."

On April 4, St. Jude Medical enrolled the first patient, a woman from Chicago, in the BROADEN study. The patient will be implanted with the Libra Deep Brain Stimulation System, an investigational device, at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital (Chicago).

"There is a tremendous need for research in the area of major depressive disorder, particularly among those who have exhausted other treatment options," said Anthony D'Agostino, MD, medical director at the hospital and principal investigator at the study site. "We hope that our participation in the study will add to the body of research previously conducted for patients suffering from depression and, if possible, shed some light on what type of patient is most likely to benefit."

The Libra system is designed to deliver mild pulses of current from a device implanted near the collarbone and connected to small electrical leads placed at specific targets in the brain.