A collaboration between researchers at University of Cambridge in the UK and École Nationale Supérieure des Mines and INSERM in France has developed a device that can sense electrical brain activity and deliver a pre-loaded drug dose in response. It has already been tried on mice undergoing seizures, releasing a native brain chemical that is effective at slowing down the development of seizures. While the technology is certainly relevant to epilepsy, there’s certainly hope it may be useful for targeting brain cancers and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
The flexible electronic device is made of soft, thin organic films that avoid damaging fragile brain tissue. The therapeutic component relies on an ion pump that generates an electric field that pushes a drug through an ion exchange membrane. The stronger the electric field, the more of the drug gets to pass through, allowing the system to be fine tuned to a patient’s specific needs. Because only very small quantities of the anti-seizure medication were needed, even the current prototype of the device can hold enough of the substance to halt seizures for many consecutive instances without having to be recharged.
“In addition to being able to control exactly when and how much drug is delivered, what is special about this approach is that the drugs come out of the device without any solvent,” in a statement added Dr Christopher Proctor, lead author of the paper appearing in Science Advances.“This prevents damage to the surrounding tissue and allows the drugs to interact with the cells immediately outside the device.”
Study in Science Advances: Electrophoretic drug delivery for seizure control…