CASE STUDY

Immersive virtual reality to improve physiotherapy care of Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients

LONG-TERM CONDITIONS

THEME

UNMET NEED

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder causing muscle weakness and wasting, which affects 2,500 people in the UK.

DMD patients need to undertake a daily stretching programme to maintain maximum muscle extensibility and optimise function. However, many children and young people are not motivated to perform these exercises, leading to earlier complications, reduced function, and a poorer long-term prognosis.

PROJECT CONCEPT / SOLUTION

The collaborative research group involved in this project has previously demonstrated that an immersive virtual reality (IVR) system can improve the delivery, engagement, and success of physiotherapy for adult amputees, burns’ patients, and children with upper limb injuries.

The team was subsequently awarded funding to determine if IVR can improve physiotherapy treatments for paediatric patients with DMD. The team are delivering a video game via IVR that integrates physiotherapist recommended stretches to see if it can increase motivation to perform daily stretches, and ultimately lead to better long-term outcomes.

SUPPORT PROVIDED

ACCESS TO NHS AND NIHR INFRASTRUCTURE

Our team facilitated a collaboration between Impact VR at Sheffield Hallam University and the clinical teams at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

One of our project managers was assigned to this project to oversee all work packages and ensure the protocol was followed and timelines adhered to. Professor Paul Dimitri, Director of NIHR CYP MedTech / the NIHR HRC in Paediatrics and Child Health, was the Chief Investigator for this project.

FUNDING

Our team identified relevant funding calls and lead on the successful grant application.

FUNDING

The project team successfully secured funding from The Children’s Hospital Charity to develop the IVR system and trial it with 16 DMD patients.

STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT

BEFORE SUPPORT

BASIC IDEA

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT

PROTOTYPE DEVELOPMENT

PROTOTYPE VALIDATION

CLINICAL TESTING

REGULATORY APPROVAL

MANUFACTURING

COMMERCIALLY / PUBLICLY AVAILABLE

CURRENT STAGE

BASIC IDEA

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT

PROTOTYPE DEVELOPMENT

PROTOTYPE VALIDATION

CLINICAL TESTING

REGULATORY APPROVAL

MANUFACTURING

COMMERCIALLY / PUBLICLY AVAILABLE

POTENTIAL IMPACT

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NEXT STEPS

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PARTNERS