Evolution and prospects for intracranial pharmacotherapy for refractory epilepsies: the subdural hybrid neuroprosthesis

Epilepsy Res Treat. 2010;2010:725696. doi: 10.1155/2010/725696. Epub 2010 Feb 8.

Abstract

Intracranial pharmacotherapy is a novel strategy to treat drug refractory, localization-related epilepsies not amenable to resective surgery. The common feature of the method is the use of some type of antiepileptic drug (AED) delivery device placed inside the cranium to prevent or stop focal seizures. This distinguishes it from other nonconventional methods, such as intrathecal pharmacotherapy, electrical neurostimulation, gene therapy, cell transplantation, and local cooling. AED-delivery systems comprise drug releasing polymers and neuroprosthetic devices that can deliver AEDs into the brain via intraparenchymal, ventricular, or transmeningeal routes. One such device is the subdural Hybrid Neuroprosthesis (HNP), designed to deliver AEDs, such as muscimol, into the subdural/subarachnoid space overlaying neocortical epileptogenic zones, with electrophysiological feedback from the treated tissue. The idea of intracranial pharmacotherapy and HNP treatment for epilepsy originated from multiple sources, including the advent of implanted medical devices, safety data for intracranial electrodes and catheters, evidence for the seizure-controlling efficacy of intracerebral AEDs, and further understanding of the pathophysiology of focal epilepsy. Successful introduction of intracranial pharmacotherapy into clinical practice depends on how the intertwined scientific, engineering, clinical, neurosurgical and regulatory challenges will be met to produce an effective and commercially viable device.