Where Ideas Grow

i3S leads European project to create sensor that prevents sudden death in epilepsy

The NEUROSENSE project, led by researcher Carlos Conde from the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health at the University of Porto (i3S), was recently funded with four million euros under the European Innovation Council Pathfinder Open program. The project, which will kick off in June and will run for four years, aims to create the first sensor to anticipate life-threatening epileptic seizures and trigger automatic drug delivery to prevent sudden death.

This proposal is the result of a collaboration with João Ferreira from the Portuguese start-up BIOSTRIKE, which was also joined by a consortium of scientific institutions made up of Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), Center National de la Recherche Scientifique (France), Center Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (Switzerland), Filadelfia Epilepsy Hospital (Denmark) and Kinetikos - Driven Solutions S.A. (Portugal).

Sudden Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) is the main cause of death related to epilepsy and there is no predictive medical device or preventive treatment available so the creation of a sensor that monitors the patient, as proposed by this team of researchers, has particular importance.

This sensor, reveals the researcher “is a small device measuring 3-4cm that is designed to be applied to the skin and through a set of micro-needles and micro-capillaries extracts and processes the interstitial fluid continuously”. The device, adds Carlos Conde, “will allow for the first time - a continuous, fully automated, and unlimited assessment of the risk of sudden death from epilepsy through the use of synthetic and semi-synthetic biorecognition elements”.

This medical device, adds Carlos Conde, “will also allow pharmaceutical companies to develop the first generation of drugs aimed at preventing SUDEP, fulfilling their contribution to the eradication of the main cause of death related to epilepsy”. NEUROSENSE, underlines the i3S researcher, “is in a unique position to succeed and increase European competitiveness in the field of epilepsy, specifically in the strategic field of epilepsy medical devices driven by Artificial Intelligence”.

The Pathfinder Open is a financial instrument of the European Innovation Council to support R&D projects aimed at the development of innovative, disruptive, and revolutionary new technologies at an early stage and in various areas. In this year’s programme, in addition to the i3S project, two more projects coordinated by Portugal were financed: CATCHER, a project in the area of renewable energies led by NOVA.ID.FCT (Associação para a Inovação e Desenvolvimento da FCT) and an IST-ID project, also in the health area, called NanoXCAN.