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EpiZode: Noninvasive Seizure Screening in Preclinical Models of Epilepsy

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 2R42NS107148-02
Agency Tracking Number: R42NS107148
Amount: $1,695,325.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 100
Solicitation Number: PA19-270
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-09-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-08-31
Small Business Information
Lexington, KY 40503-1229
United States
DUNS: 964938455
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (859) 257-5796
Business Contact
Phone: (888) 261-5149
Research Institution
LEXINGTON, KY 40526-0001
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

EpiZode: Noninvasive Seizure Screening in Preclinical Models of Epilepsy
There is an urgent need for research into treatment options for epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Animal
models are increasingly used to understand disease mechanisms and to screen promising therapeutic
approaches. Animal epilepsy model use typically requires expensive and labor-intensive experimentation, with
invasive EEG measurements being the preferred method of validation. This severely limits the pace and scale of
investigation. In models of acquired epilepsy, animals usually undergo treatment to induce status epilepticus—
a period of unremitting seizure—followed by a latent period during which the brain rewires itself to generate
spontaneously recurring seizures, the hallmark of chronic epilepsy. The duration of the latent period and the
likelihood that an animal will develop epilepsy are both uncertain. Animals must be observed for weeks to
confirm epilepsy before they are ready for experimentation. During this latent period, seizures are commonly
documented by visual observation or video review, which are tedious and prone to error. A commercial system
for automated noninvasive seizure detection would therefore be invaluable to epilepsy researchers.
Signal Solutions, LLC, has developed piezoelectric sensor technologies for noninvasive, high-throughput
behavioral monitoring in rodents. This is being used by sleep/circadian researchers around the world, and
discriminates sleep from wakefulness with andgt;90% accuracy. The Sunderam Lab at the University of Kentucky
has further demonstrated that these piezo sensors can distinguish REM and NREM stages of sleep in mice.
To address the needs of epilepsy researchers, we performed a Phase I STTR study to: 1. Test the feasibility of
epilepsy onset detection in rodents using noninvasive piezo film sensors; 2. Validate piezo detections against
simultaneous EEG recordings in rodents with epilepsy; and 3. Test the feasibility of using smaller profile piezo
sensors and an infrared imager for seizure screening and verification. The study successfully confirmed the
feasibility of these aims.
In this Phase II STTR proposal, we will further develop methods for accurate noninvasive seizure screening in
rodent models through the following objectives: 1. Develop algorithms for detection of both overt and subtle
seizures using small form factor piezo sensors; 2. Send a prototype system out for beta testing on different
animal models and refine the system based on feedback; 3. Develop and validate novel sensor configurations
algorithms for accurate seizure detection and attribution in group-housed epileptic animals.
The envisioned product is a turnkey system for convenient noninvasive seizure screening in small animal
models of epilepsy in custom or commercial cages that minimizes the need for invasive and resource-intensive
EEG analysis. Potential customers include academic research labs as well as labs in the pharmaceutical sector
engaged in high-volume screening of antiepileptic drugs.The development of drugs and other treatments for epilepsy depends heavily on laboratory animal studies in
which their effect on seizures is measured. Seizures are rare and unpredictable, and monitoring animals for
seizures in person or from video recordings is tedious; the alternative is to record brain signals, which requires
invasive and expensive recordings using electrodes. A new noninvasive technology is proposed for detecting
seizures in lab animals used for epilepsy research.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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