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MCL 3483.0: Implantable Electroconvulsive Therapy

Oscar Morales, M.D.

Background and Description

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a treatment for psychiatric disorders such as depression or other neuropsychiatric disorders in which seizures are induced with electricity for therapeutic effect. In existing methods of ECT, electrodes are placed on either side of the patient's head and electrical stimuli are delivered to the patient's brain through the electrodes. Electrical stimuli are thus broadly applied throughout the brain, and the induced transcranial seizures can span large portions and different areas of the brain. ECT treatment can lead to several known side effects including confusion and memory loss. The present invention, intracranial electrical seizure therapy (ICEST), avoids such side effects by using an electrode implanted in the patient's brain to deliver electrical stimulation to a more limited, focused target site. Such treatment induces a seizure that starts at the target site and spreads throughout a localized or generalized volume of the brain. The focal application of the electrical stimulation reduces the exposure of non-targeted brain areas to the applied stimulation, which in turn reduces side effects resulting from the electrical stimulation of these non-targeted areas.

Potential Commercial Uses

The seizures induced by ICEST will trigger physiological effects, such as regulation of neuron cell growth factors, axonal sprouting and neurogenesis, that will enable intervention for neuropsychiatric conditions characterized by neuron cell loss or degeneration. ICEST treatment is expected to be useful for disorders such as depressive disorder, bipolar affective disorder, schizoaffective disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and possibly also neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease, while leading to fewer side effects than traditional ECT therapy.

Publication and Patent Status

McLean Hospital has filed a U.S. patent application claiming this invention.

Licenses Available

McLean Hospital is offering a worldwide exclusive license to this technology.

For more information, please contact:

Anne Ritter, Licensing Manager
Partners Research Ventures and Licensing
(617) 954-9529