New Surgically Implanted Device May Eradicate Seizures

April 25, 2014

A device recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat surgery used in combination surgery with a separate implantable system may completely eliminate surgery.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a device to reduce seizures in patients with medication-resistant epilepsy up to 50%.

Physicians at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago developed the NeuroPace RNS System in combination with their own custom-developed electrode placement planning systems to completely eliminate seizures in patients. The device is surgically implanted beneath the patient’s scalp and connected to electrodes that are linked to the seizure focus in the brain. Then, a computer chip in the skull relays data to a tracking system to regulate responsive simulation.

The system uses a computer-intensive mapping system that assists in the specific placement of the NeuroPace RNS System in the brain’s temporal lobe. The device predicts where brain activity begins and spreads in order to influence the epileptic pathway.

The developers have also shown that the NeuroPace RNS System acts as an implanted electroencephalography (EEG) for recording brain activity, which they noted physicians can use as a diagnostic tool to determine whether a patient may benefit from a surgical resection.

“This device is also being used at Rush as a foundation and inspiration for building cutting-edge hybrid stimulation therapy-drug molecule delivery systems,” Marvin Rossi, MD, PhD, co-principal investigator of the NeuroPace Pivotal Clinical Trial and assistant professor of neurology at the Rush Epilepsy Center, said in a press release. “Devices that treat epilepsy may offer new hope to patients when medication is ineffective and resection is not an option.”

Rossi explained how “not long ago, it was highly unlikely that these patients would ever be free of their seizures.” But now, he said, “several of our Rush patients with this device are actually able to drive, lower or even eliminate their medications and aren’t as limited as they once were. There is no doubt that quality of life of the majority of our implanted patients is significantly improved.”