Results of preclinical studies conducted by the Foundation in collaboration with researchers at the University of Virginia and the Swedish Neuroscience Institute demonstrate that it may be feasible to treat certain types of epilepsy noninvasively with focused ultrasound (FUS). Investigators assessed the ability of FUS to reach and ablate the targets for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy and hypothalamic hamartoma utilizing cadavers and skulls filled with gel to mimic the brain. Further technical development is needed to reduce treatment time and the potential for skull heating.
"We are very encouraged by these preclinical findings," said Stephen Monteith, MD, neurosurgeon at Swedish. "It is still early days, but we are hopeful that we are on the path toward developing FUS as a way of achieving freedom from seizures without having to undergo the risks of surgery."
This work is supported through a partnership between the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and the Epilepsy Foundation. The research is being conducted in two phases, starting with preclinical studies to establish technical feasibility followed by a trial in patients to determine clinical feasibility and safety.