Rex Bionics Plc (AIM: RXB), the pioneer of the REX Robot technology that enhances the mobility of wheelchair users, is pleased to announce the start of a new clinical trial treating patients who have had a stroke or brain injury, with Robot-Assisted Physiotherapy with REX.

The trial is being conducted by the Australian Institute of Neuro-rehabilitation, Nelson Bay, New South Wales (NSW), Australia and the University of Newcastle, NSW; and is supported by The Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation and Rex Bionics plc.  The trial has received ethics clearance through the Hunter New England Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref: 16/08/17/4.06) and will be carried out according to the standards of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

The trial will recruit volunteers from the Hunter Region of NSW, who have had a stroke or head injury more than three months previously and have difficulty standing and walking.  Volunteers will be treated twice a week for twelve weeks and the REX treatment will be supplemented by a home programme of exercises.   There is provision for MRI examination to correlate the functional and neurological response to treatment.

More than one-third of people who survive a stroke or head injury need help in walking and some will never regain the ability to stand without assistance. This affects the patient’s ability to participate in rehabilitation, their long term health, and the ability to do social, work and leisure activities.

There are more than 420,000 people living with the effects of stroke in Australia and 30% of these people are of working age.  65% of those living with stroke also suffer a disability that impedes their ability to carry out daily living activities unassisted.  In 2012, the total financial costs of stroke in Australia were estimated to be A$5 billion.

Trish Leonard, the Founder of AIN, commented: “In REX’s self-supporting exoskeleton we see the potential to provide greater opportunities for weight bearing exercises to people with stroke and other acquired brain injuries. We are excited to be involved in ground breaking research to evaluate REX’s robotic exercise therapy as a neuro-rehabilitation tool”

Crispin Simon, Chief Executive of Rex Bionics plc added: “Congratulations to AIN and their partners on being the first clinical research group to establish a trial using REX to treat stroke and brain injury.  It is exciting to consider the possibility of functional improvement in a condition, like stroke, where so many people live with a severely compromised quality of life.”