Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines and INSERM in France have managed to implant a device into the brains of mice which delivered a native brain chemical when the first signals of a seizure were detected, stopping the seizure from progressing.
The implant uses an electric field that pushes neurotransmitters out of the device. The process allows for very exact control over both the dosage and the timing for drug delivery, something which is very important when addressing an intermittent disorder such as epilepsy.
After the first tests were successful, the researchers started to deliver the neurotransmitters before a dose of seizure-inducing chemicals was injected in the brain via a separate implant, in order to see if they could prevent the seizures altogether. That experiment too, was a success.
For the time being, the device has only been tested on mice and rats, so it might be almost a decade before the technology will be available for clinical use in humans.
The results were reported in the Science Advances journal and the research could, in the future, be applied to aid other conditions such as brain tumors or Parkinson’s disease.