SensUs interviews Dr Richard Lazeron

Dr Richard Lazeron is a neurologist and chief medical officer at Kempenhaeghe Epilepsy Center. His expertise in the field of neurology and his focus on epilepsy have been of great value for SensUs. He had an important role in the choice of the theme of SensUs 2020. SensUs spoke with him about his daily activities, his opinion about SensUs and the future of biosensing.  

Can you tell something about yourself and your job as a neurologist? What are your daily activities?

I am a neurologist currently working at Kempenhaeghe, an epilepsy expertise center in the Netherlands. When seizures of a patient are not controlled, or the diagnosis is not clear, the patients are referred to our center. My fields of expertises are seizure detection, e-health and epilepsy, and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. In my daily routine I see patients for diagnosis and treatment and I do scientific work. In addition I am a University Researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology, in the department of Electrical Engineering.

What do you think are the main challenges in the treatment of epilepsy? How do you think that the treatment of epilepsy patients will evolve in the future?

The main challenge within the treatment of epilepsy is that there is no cure, however the disorder can be managed with medications and other strategies. Currently patients are treated with anti-epileptic drugs that aim to control seizures with minimal side effects. Epilepsy has many different causes and the mechanisms behind these causes are still unclear. I hope that in the future we will understand the mechanisms and will be able to tackle these causes. 

In SensUs 2020 students will develop biosensors for an anti-epileptic drug. Can you tell something about anti-epileptic drugs? What are the clinical problems?

The challenge when treating patiënts with anti-epileptic drugs is to find the right drug and the right amount of medication. Sometimes the drug treatment gives major side effects, and it isn’t always possible to fully control and prevent seizures. When treating patients it is difficult to strike the right balance.

How could biosensors for measuring anti-epileptic drugs be useful for doctors and patients?  

A biosensor can measure the medication level faster than standard methods. When patients are treated with epileptic drugs, it is always a challenge to find the right balance between seizure prevention and living without side effects. A biosensor could help to ensure that the patient has a correct and stable drug concentration in the blood, to achieve a low seizure probability and minimal side effects. SensUs is a nice initiative to boost the development of this kind of technology and make new things possible.

Finally, do you have advice for the participating teams?

It will be great if biosensors become available to easily measure the level of medication in a drop of blood. As a next question: How can the measurement data be combined with data from non-invasive sensors, e.g. sensors that monitor electrical signals from the patients? And could it be possible to measure drug levels without taking a drop of blood? I would love to see creative solutions in this area, to achieve the best possible monitoring of patients.