Epios: Brain monitoring and therapeutics for daily life

Wyss Center researchers are working in collaboration with clinicians and faculty at the University Hospital of Bern (INSELSPITAL), Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) on a new era of minimally invasive long-term brain monitoring to advance diagnosis and personalized treatment options and improve quality of life for people living with neurological disorders.

The problem

Unmet need for long-term brain monitoring in everyday life

Long-term brain activity data could dramatically improve diagnosis and treatment of neuro-disorders, but there is currently no system capable of recording brain activity over months and years. Existing methods of monitoring brain activity have limitations. Scalp monitoring with a cap interferes with daily life, provides unstable signals and is only effective for short-term recordings. Intracranial monitoring with electrodes in direct contact with the brain requires hospitalization for invasive cranial surgery and records from only a small area of the brain.

These limitations highlight the need for continuous, long-term monitoring of brain activity, with reliable measurements, outside the clinic and with minimal interference in daily life.

The Epios solution

A web of sensors that record brain activity from beneath the scalp

The Epios system is designed to record brain activity over months or years. It comprises a web of thin sensors and a miniature implant behind the ear, all placed beneath the scalp. The brain signals are wirelessly transmitted to a wearable data recorder and securely stored in Epios Cloud, which allows remote access and analytics. The Epios system can be used continuously, 24 hours a day, at home, at work or on the move.

Epios system components. The name Epios stems from the term epiosteal which means ‘above the bone’.

The Epios sensors (leads) and implant are placed under the skin of the scalp and so do not require a major surgical procedure, and the user does not need to wear a cap.

This subcutaneous monitoring approach offers unobtrusive long-term monitoring, while providing flexibility in brain coverage – from large areas to much smaller, depending on clinical requirements.

The Epios system also integrates heart rate and movement monitoring as well as audio recording.

Epios Cloud

Secure data storage, visualization and analysis

cloud software data access
Epios Cloud provides remote data access and analytics

The ability to record from multiple areas of the brain over long-timescales results in unprecedented volumes of data. The Epios Cloud is a bespoke solution for centralized storage and analysis of brain data as well as heart rate, movement and audio data. The software automatically detects regions of interest with embedded state-of-the art event detection algorithms – for detecting events such as seizures. It is intended to be used as a medical device, allowing qualified medical practitioners to remotely access and review the data. Epios Cloud has undergone successful usability trials at INSELSPITAL, Bern and is in the process of acquiring CE-marking (Class I).

The new Epios Cloud software is now available for pilot deployment and use in clinical trials or other research or industry settings. Contact busdev@wysscenter.ch to find out more.

Applications

Epilepsy, and other promising therapeutic applications in the pipeline

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that affects 50 million people around the world. It is characterized by recurrent seizures – abnormal excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain. Sometimes seizures can be weeks or months apart so it is almost impossible to monitor them during a single hospital stay. People often forget that they have had a seizure, so self-reported seizure diaries are not accurate enough to baseline seizure activity.

Long-term monitoring of brain activity during everyday life will help clinicians characterize seizures, improve the diagnosis of epilepsy and provide personalized treatment plans.

Epilepsy is the first application of the technology. Other promising therapeutic applications for the Epios system, including movement restoration, regulation of tinnitus through neurofeedback and neuromodulation for brain circuit disorders, are being explored.

The Wyss Center is working alongside academic and clinical partners at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), University Hospital of Bern (INSELSPITAL) and Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) to trial the Epios system in people. Clinical trials are due to start in 2020.

Epios sensors monitor brain activity from beneath the scalp. In epilepsy, long-term brain monitoring can inform treatment strategies and help with lifestyle planning.

The future

Where will we see the biggest impact?

The true value of long-term brain data has yet to be discovered. It will give fresh insights into brain function and open-up new avenues for biomarker discovery, personalized treatment and population analytics, especially when combined with other information like movement, heart rate and audio.

Long-term epilepsy data could provide the key to seizure forecasting giving people with epilepsy the power to plan their lives according to the likelihood of having a seizure.

Monitoring the brain in real-time has applications in movement restoration for people with spinal cord injury and stroke, as well as sleep disorders and pain management.

We welcome opportunities to exchange ideas and to explore collaborations with academic researchers, clinicians and industry. To find out more about this project and others, please contact us at busdev@wysscenter.ch

Epios Cloud

The new Epios Cloud software is now available for pilot deployment and use in clinical trials or other research or industry settings.

Contact us to find out more