New Grant Aims To Help Develop A Medical Device To Stop Epileptic Seizures

Nuri Firat Ince, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Houston, has been awarded a $3.7 million BRAIN initiative grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to further his research and medical device development for epileptic seizure prevention. Ince has been able to reduce the time it takes to identify the seizure onset zone by detecting high frequency oscillations that reveal its location with repetitive waveform patterns. This development will have a significant impact on preventing these seizures and improving the lives of those affected by epilepsy.

Dr. Ince is hoping to utilize high frequency oscillations (HFOs) as a way to identify and prevent seizures before they even begin. A portion of the grant he received will be used to research the feasibility of an implantable brain device in detecting these high frequency oscillations. If successful, the Brain Interchange (BIC) System can be used to capture HFOs and deliver targeted electrical stimulation to achieve seizure control. Dr. Ince believes that by doing so, pathologic stereotyped HFOs can be translated into closed-loop seizure control applications.

Cortec GMBH of Freiburg, Germany, is the neurotech partner for the project and has agreed to supply the Brain Interchange system. The clinical partner for the project is Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine, where researchers and Ince will finalize the implantable device. After successful outcomes are observed in the acute settings of the research, a clinical trial in a chronic ambulatory setting will be initiated. Ince’s Brain Interchange system is different from responsive neurostimulation devices because it is able to notify the patient of potential seizure onset without needing to wait for a seizure to occur. He found that the seizure onset zone (SOZ) produces a set of stereotyped high frequency oscillations (HFOs) which are different from the polymorphic waveforms that appear in non-epileptic areas such as motor and language cortices. Ince stated that the stereotypical HFOs can be used as a reliable biomarker to distinguish the SOZ from other brain areas. The research conducted by Nuri Firat Ince and his team has the potential to revolutionize the way epilepsy is diagnosed and treated. However, despite the promising results, Ince believes that further research is required to evaluate the practical use of stereotyped HFOs in a closed-loop seizure control system before the technology is finally made public.