The Wellcome Trust have awarded a multi-million pound grant through the Health Innovation Challenge Fund to continue research into Image-guided neurosurgical treatment of epilepsy. The work is led by Professor John Duncan and Professor Sebastien Ourselin.
One third of individuals developing epilepsy are uncontrolled with medication. If epilepsy arises from one part of the brain, surgical removal of this area can be curative. This needs to be balanced by the risk of causing new deficits such as paralysis or impaired speech. Improved diagnostic methods, and surgical precision, will improve the benefit/risk ratio of epilepsy surgery, and increase treatment availability.
Teams between the Translational Imaging Group and the Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy have developed software to visualise the whole range of 3D brain imaging, including normal architecture, abnormalities of structure and function, arteries, veins, critical brain areas and nerve pathways, and the skull. This increases the safety and precision of implantation of the electrodes necessary to pinpoint the brain tissue that needs to be removed to cure the epilepsy. (Read more about EpiNav Software)
The grant will allow the teams to implement automated planning of electrode trajectories and robotic systems for placing the electrodes into the brain. It will also establish methods for automated 3D planning of neurosurgical resections, so that surgery is optimal and quicker. Consequently, curative neurosurgery will be available more quickly to more individuals. The surgical advances pioneered here will be applicable in future to other procedures, such as taking biopsies and tumour surgery.