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This article was published in May 2013. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

New pin-prick test for serum levels

24 May 2013

An asian woman's finger being pricked by a doctorThe Epilepsy Foundation in the US recently awarded a prize for a new device to help treat epilepsy. The winning device can instantly test levels of epilepsy medicines in the blood

The ‘Shark Tank’ prize is awarded by the Epilepsy Foundation’s Epilepsy Therapy Project. This year, the prize was awarded for the second time and went to Uktan Demirci PhD and Steven Schachter MD for their microfluidic chip.

The chip is a disposable device that doctors can use quickly and easily during appointments. The chip takes a finger-prick blood sample and can tell the doctor how much of any epilepsy medicine is in the patient’s blood within 15 minutes.

Six finalists competed for the prize at the recent Antiepileptic Drug and Device Trials (AED) XII Conference in Miami, US. New devices were judged against certain factors. These included the idea, the design and how the device would improve the lives of people with epilepsy.

close-up of a finger with blood on the tipThe winner was chosen using live voting from members of a judging panel and the audience. The judging panel included actor Greg Grunberg, who played Matt Parkman in the superhero television show Heroes. Greg’s son Jake has epilepsy, which led him to begin raising awareness and even create an epilepsy awareness website, talkaboutit.org

The ‘Shark Tank’ award is a $100,000 prize designed to fund the development of the winning product. Hopefully, the microfluidic chip may soon be available for use in clinics and will genuinely improve care for people with epilepsy.

In a press release, the judging panel said: “With support from our Epilepsy Therapy Project initiative, we are solving an unmet challenge in epilepsy. This is a true innovation that will allow physicians, individuals with epilepsy and their caregivers to analyze the effects of epilepsy medication on a real time basis.”

For more information about the ‘Shark Tank’ award, visit the Epilepsy Therapy Project website.

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