January 25, 2019

Implantable Device Shows Potential as Epilepsy Treatment

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GDNF-releasing cells reduce epilepsy-induced cell death. In a normal hippocampus (A), no overt sign of cell death is observed, whereas many dying cells (stained in green) are seen in the epileptic hippocampus (B). GDNF effectively attenuates such cell death (C). (Courtesy: Giovanna Paolone)

Motivated by the need for an effective and well-tolerated epilepsy therapy, a research team from the University of Ferrara and Gloriana Therapeutics has developed an implantable device that delivers high and consistent levels of therapeutic protein directly to the brain. The slender device can be implanted into diseased areas of the brain where it secretes protein through its permeable distal tip.

Giovanna Paolone and colleagues have investigated the use of this Gloriana targeted cellular delivery system to deliver glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) — a protein that may help suppress epileptic activity — directly to the hippocampus of epileptic rats.

Overall, these results support ongoing development and pre-clinical evaluation of this technology, paving the way for eventual clinical translation into a new treatment for epilepsy.

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