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Friday, January 19 2018
Press release

Four New High Potential Research Projects are Added to the Funding Tradition of Epilepsy Canada

Over $214,000 invested in epilepsy research

Source: Epilepsy Canada

MARKHAM, ON, January 19, 2018 – Epilepsy Canada is continuing its long history of funding ground-breaking research into epilepsy. Today, we announce four grants to researchers from three leading Canadian universities. We expect these to kick-start projects that will have a positive impact on patients who suffer from medication resistant seizures and add to the knowledge that will one-day lead to a cure. Some of the benefits will be in the areas of seizure forecasting, the development of personalized treatment strategies and improvement in defences against SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death from Epilepsy).

Gary Collins, President of Epilepsy Canada said, “We are extremely excited about this announcement. Collectively, the funding of these four important initiatives represents the largest research grant that we have made at one time. It demonstrates our organization’s commitment to grow and lead the fight against epilepsy. We feel it is also reflective of an increased awareness of epilepsy and SUDEP and their impact on patients, families and society.”

Over $214,000 is being awarded in this round of grants. The recipients of the Jay & Aiden Barker Breakthrough Grants in Clinical and Basic Sciences are:

  • Functional investigation for personalized medicine in epileptic encephalopathies - Dr. Elsa Rossignol of the University of Montreal CHU Sainte-Justine
    • Dr Rossignol will identify genes that are responsible brain malformations resulting in epilepsy. She will gather this information from across Canada and use it to look for commonalities that will permit targeted and personalized treatment strategies in newly diagnosed childhood epilepsies, permitting physicians to choose the best medications for treatment.
  • Your brain under the microscope - Dr. Peter Carlen of the University of Toronto
    • This project will push the boundaries of personalized medicine for patients with intractable epilepsy. By using tissue obtained from an affected patient it aims to create a miniaturized cerebral model that can be rapidly analysed and tested for effective treatments
  • Using advanced imaging techniques to predict medically-intractable epilepsy - Dr. Andrea Bernasconi - Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University
    • By testing the utilization of advanced imaging techniques at the time of diagnosis the potential impact includes earlier surgical referral in high risk patients and identifying insights into underlaying conditions of drug-resistant seizures.
  • Seizure prediction to improve management of refractory epilepsy - Dr. Dang K Nguyen Le Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal
    • This project aims to develop a functional seizure forecast system that if successful, has potential for almost immediate patient impact. Outcomes include the developing of automated triggered seizure alarms.

Underscoring the importance of the grants, Dr. Peter Carlen of the UHN Epilepsy Clinic and the University of Toronto, commented, “These funds provide our group with a kickstart to accelerate the preliminary work done to date. The grant permits us to devote more time and resources for the project which to date has received no direct funding.”

Elsa Rossignol, M.D, M.Sc., F.R.C.P. and Assistant Professor, Department of Neurosciences Université de Montréal CHU says, “We are grateful to the families and donators that support Epilepsy Canada and thus help us advance science and care for children with epilepsy. This grant will help us assemble a team of experts to establish a pan-Canadian network to further investigate the mechanisms underlying rare genetic forms of refractory childhood epilepsies. Our goal is to refine our ability to diagnose rare genetic epilepsies and to design novel therapies to improve the neurological outcome and well being of children with currently incurable diseases.”

Twenty-one highly competitive full proposals were received from many well-known epilepsy researchers from across the country. Dr. Michelle Demos, Chair of the EC Scientific Review Committee says, “The decision was based on our analysis of the proposal, outside reviewers’ comments and recommendations, the applicant’s qualifications and how closely the proposal aligns with Epilepsy Canada’s mission statement.”

Epilepsy Canada is a registered Canadian charity dedicated to positively affecting the lives of those living with epilepsy. It undertakes education and awareness activities to build understanding, acceptance and hope for those affected by epileptic seizures or SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death from Epilepsy).  And through its active financial support of epilepsy research, it strives to help the Canadian neurology community find a cure for epilepsy.

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For information

Source: Epilepsy Canada

You can reach us by visiting www.epilepsy.ca or call us directly at 1-877-734-0873.

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Updated on 1/22/2018
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