FEIT Research Project Database

Stentrode stimulation: current steering with the stentrode for treatment of refractory epilepsy

Project Leader: Sam John
Staff: David Grayden
Primary Contact: Sam John (sam.john@unimelb.edu.au)
Keywords: neural engineering; neuroengineering
Disciplines: Biomedical Engineering
Research Centre: Neuroengineering Research Laboratory

Over 64 million people suffer from epilepsy worldwide. In approximately thirty percent of people with epilepsy traditional treatment is ineffective. Treatment resistant epilepsy is prevalent where people suffer traumatic head injuries. In these people, electrical stimulation of the brain has shown promise in suppressing seizures. However, present electrical stimulation for treatment of epilepsy uses electrodes implanted via open brain surgery. This procedure carries a substantial risk of infection, bleeding, impairment and death. We recently showed proof of principle that an electrode array may be implanted into the brain via a blood vessel, without open brain surgery which is safer than traditional methods.

Electrical stimulation of the brain has improved the quality of life of many people with epilepsy. However, there are inherent limitations in present techniques such as the inability to accurately target the correct region of the brain tissue. This leads to damage to tissue adjacent to the electrodes, while target tissue further away is ineffectively stimulated to produce the desired treatment effect. Our novel implantation technique opens the door for an innovative approach to targeting neural tissue that improves safety and efficacy of stimulating the brain.

The stimulation strategy proposed is a paradigm shift in electrical stimulation of the brain for epilepsy. The approach used improves safety of intervention and efficacy of treatment. The results obtained will provide essential guidance to develop and tailor effective therapies for people with epilepsy.   

Further information: https://biomedical.eng.unimelb.edu.au/john-neurobionics/research