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Article source: John Lewis, Otago Daily Times

An Otago medical invention capable of treating epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and brain cancer has been granted a United States patent, meaning it could be publicly available within the next decade.

University of Otago School of Biomedical Sciences researcher and lead investigator Prof John Reynolds said it could treat patients by injecting them with medication which sits dormant in their bloodstream until specialised sound and light waves were used to release it into specific areas of the brain.

Prof Reynolds has already proved it can be used to stop seizure activity in people with epilepsy, and he is now developing the system to make it safe and ready for human trials in the next two years.

He believed it was "the holy grail" of targeted drug delivery and said it was the "pinnacle" of his work.

"It’s so complex. It’s taken so many years and we’ve had so many people involved, a combination of many different departments and many different investigators."

Otago scientists worked with Dunedin company Kamahi and Callaghan Innovation in Wellington, to build a prototype headset which delivers ultrasonic waves to target drugs to specific brain areas.


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