The first patient to take part in a clinical trial sponsored by University College London (UCL) using deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treat epilepsy has experienced an 80% reduction in daytime seizures. 

The UK teenager is enrolled in the CADET pilot (Children’s Adaptive Deep brain stimulation for Epilepsy Trial), which is using Amber Therapeutics’ DBS device called the Picostim, with a software called DyNeuMo-1.  

Oran, who suffers from a rare epilepsy syndrome called Lennox-Gastaut, was the first child in the UK to have the device implanted at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in October 2023, when he was 12 years old. The device is mounted onto the skull and is attached to electrodes deep in the brain to reduce seizure activity. 

Picostim is mounted on the skull instead of traditional DBS devices which are mounted on the chest. This makes the device more suitable for growing children as the wires are less likely to break and erode. Additionally, it doesn’t require surgery to replace it every three to five years because it’s rechargeable through wearable headphones.

Three more patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome will now be recruited into the CADET pilot, which is funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering. Study sponsor UCL says that 22 patients are expected to take part in the full trial, which is being funded by the GOSH Charity and LifeArc.  

The Picostim DyNeuMo neuromodulation therapy platform was developed by UK-based Bioinduction, but Amber Therapeutics inherited the device following a September 2023 acquisition of the company.  

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Martin Tisdall, honorary associate professor at UCL, said: “Deep brain stimulation brings us closer than ever before to stopping epileptic seizures for patients who have very limited effective treatment options. We are excited to build the evidence base to demonstrate the ability of deep brain stimulation to treat paediatric epilepsy and hope in years to come it will be a standard treatment we can offer.” 

It’s not just epilepsy that can be targeted by DBS devices. Earlier this week, Boston Scientific secured a CE mark for its Vercise Neural Navigator 5 Software, designed to be used as part of the company’s DBS system for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. 

According to a report on GlobalData’s Medical Intelligence Center, the neuromodulation devices market in the UK will be worth $234m (£184.8m) by 2030. 

GlobalData is the parent company of Clinical Trials Arena.