Graeme GonzalesGraeme M Gonzales

Recipient of the 2007 ESA UCB Fellowship

Epilepsy Fellow, Centre for Clinical Neurosciences and Neurological Research, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne

The project which I am undertaking is a Phase I or laboratory based assessment of the safety, feasibility and efficacy of a novel method of formulating anticonvulsant medications, to allow more efficient drug delivery to a seizure focus in a patient with otherwise refractory focal epilepsy who may not be a surgical candidate.

We are using both established and novel anticonvulsants which have been chemically combined to form compounds with biocompatible polymers such as polylactate. These polymer compounds are degradable and do not alter the anticonvulsants. They are essentially a vehicle which permits depot or delayed drug release. Some of these polymers are electroconductive and we also hope to explore the potential to electrically control the rate of breakdown of the combined compounds, and consequently the rate of drug release.

I currently am developing a cell culture testing model to assess for toxicity/biocompatibility. We also use a number of different animal models of focal epilepsy to test these compounds in vivo. I also hope to be able to use in vitro brain slice models at a later date.

If the outcome of this research is successful, it will pave the way to develop means of delivering anticonvulsants safely and in a timely manner, topically to a focal epileptogenic lesion, either by intracerebroventricular or direct intracranial delivery. The anticipated long term clinical outcome is the development of a new tool to treat previously medically refractory focal epilepsies in patients in whom surgery may not be a treatment option.

Graeme Gonzales

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