CIMIT is a Boston-based consortium of teaching hospitals and engineering schools, and the mission of Epilepsy TDP is to advance new therapies for people living with epilepsy. The NeuroTechnology program is under the direction of Steven C. Schachter, MD, Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and epilepsy specialist at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
CIMIT researchers are already developing pioneering technology to help patients with epilepsy. Dr. Schachter, together with Professor John Guttag, PhD, and graduate student Ali Shoeb, both at MIT, are currently testing non-invasive seizure detection technology that is designed to trigger treatments such as vagus nerve stimulation to potentially abort seizures before they cause symptoms.
CIMIT, the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology, is a non-profit consortium of Boston area teaching hospitals, engineering schools and research laboratories. In addition to the NeuroTechnology Program, CIMIT supports research in eight other areas including Minimally Invasive Surgery, Simulation Training, Trauma & Casualty Care, Image-Guided Therapy, Cardiovascular Disease, Tissue Engineering, Biodefense and Point of Care Technologies. Through its facilitation programs, CIMIT fosters and nurtures interdisciplinary collaboration among experts in medicine, science and engineering, in concert with industry and government, to rapidly improve patient care.
Addressing Unmet Needs
"The seizure detection project is an example of the many potential applications of technology to address the unmet needs of patients with epilepsy," said Dr. Schachter. "CIMIT brings together highly talented clinicians, scientists and engineers, and we are excited to have this gift from the Epilepsy Therapy Project to support collaborative, innovative projects in the field of epilepsy," he added.
According to Warren Lammert, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Epilepsy Therapy Project, "This is an important collaboration for us. As many as one in three patients with epilepsy continue to have seizures despite taking available drugs, and others have side effects that are so unpleasant most of us would not tolerate them on a day-to-day basis. With our support of CIMIT's NeuroTechnology Program, we look forward to technological advances that will improve the quality of life for people struggling with the effects of seizures or current treatments."
CIMIT Director John A. Parrish, MD added, "We established the NeuroTechnology Program to attract and deploy significantly more resources into this important area, utilizing our extensive network of academic medical facilities, research laboratories, and engineering institutions, which is the largest and most extensive such network in the United States. We are very grateful to the Epilepsy Therapy Project for their gift and their confidence in our efforts to apply technology towards solving the most urgent medical needs of patients whose lives are devastated by epilepsy and other neurological disorders."
Epilepsy and Current Therapies
Epilepsy can develop in any person at any age. Up to 2 percent of the population will develop epilepsy during their lifetime. About 2.7 million Americans have been treated for epilepsy in the past five years and an estimated 60 million persons worldwide have epilepsy. Current therapies are ineffective or cause significant side effects in more than half of persons with epilepsy.