NeuroPace has announced its partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Restoring Active Memory (RAM) teams at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA to develop new treatments for memory deficits using neurostimulation.
The RNS system is the world’s only commercially available implantable closed-loop responsive neurostimulator system. NeuroPace received premarket approval (PMA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the RNS System in November 2013. It is approved as a treatment for adults with partial onset seizures with one or two seizure onset zones whose seizures have not been controlled with two or more antiepileptic drugs.
Through the DARPA RAM research, NeuroPace and other collaborators will gain fundamental knowledge regarding the restoration of memory. The company believes this research may expand the clinical applications of the RNS system beyond the treatment of epilepsy, as well as provide the understanding necessary to inform the development of future devices that expand the capabilities of responsive neurostimulation. This collaborative effort will advance the field of brain research and closed-loop neurostimulation applications. A portion of the DARPA project will involve epilepsy patients implanted with the RNS system at seven Comprehensive Epilepsy Centers and will be led by Barbara Jobst, professor of Neurology at Dartmouth, and Martha Morrell, chief medical officer at NeuroPace and clinical professor of Neurology at Stanford University. A separate part of the project will begin with epilepsy patients implanted with the RNS system at UCLA with Itzhak Fried serving as the principal investigator.
“Using the RNS system, we will be able to immediately explore ways in which brain stimulation can restore memory function in patients with epilepsy. Insights derived from these early studies will help to guide future research in patients with other neurological disorders that result in memory loss,” says Michael Kahana, principal investigator at the University of Pennsylvania.
As a closed-loop system, the RNS system monitors the brain’s own signals, interprets those signals, provides stimulation when needed, and then assesses the brain’s response. The breakthrough aspect of the RNS system is its advanced detection and stimulation capabilities. This is unlike all other existing neurostimulation therapies, which continuously or intermittently stimulate the brain without determining the need for treatment or monitoring the response.
“The RNS system is the only commercially available product that continuously monitors the brain’s electrical signals, delivers stimulation only when needed and then monitors the response,” says Frank Fischer, chief executive officer at NeuroPace. “This capability is critical to the research phase of projects like the DARPA RAM programme. Restoring active memory could improve the lives of so many. We are thrilled to be a part of this programme and hope to be part of similar brain research and product development projects in the future.”