Epilepsy Research Foundation Announces Translational Research Funding Awards Supporting Innovative Epilepsy Products

Business Wire via NewsEdge Corporation :

Neuroengineering in Epilepsy and a Potential Therapeutic Option for Neonatal Seizures Business Editors/Health/Medical Writers RESTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 26, 2007--The Epilepsy Research Foundation (ERF), a unique joint venture of three non-profit epilepsy organizations to identify and accelerate the development of promising epilepsy research, today announced three recipients of translational research funds totaling over $300,000 for work to advance three promising epilepsy therapies. The ERF research awards are designed to support exciting, innovative therapies through laboratory research or early clinical development and are being presented to physicians and scientists actively advancing the research with important, near-term patient benefits. The funded projects include the development of an intravenous formulation of the drug topiramate for the neuroprotection and the treatment of seizures in neonatal infants; a multi-scale human electrophysiology and stimulation program to significantly improve the efficacy of brain stimulation in patients with epilepsy; and the use of a novel electrical brain stimulation therapy to suppress epileptic activity.

"More than 3 million people in the United States and 50 million people worldwide have some form of epilepsy," said Warren Lammert, a Co -founder and Chairman of the Epilepsy Therapy Development Project. "More than a third of these people - approximately one million men, women and children in the U.S. alone - face persistent seizures despite best medical treatment. These grants underscore the important missions of the supporting organizations - to improve the quality of life for people living with epilepsy by advancing exceptional translational epilepsy research. We are delighted to recognize our grant recipients for their valuable, innovative work."

Recipients of the Spring 2007 Epilepsy Research Foundation Funds

Robert E. Gross, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, and Steve M. Potter, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, are the recipients of a grant for the development of a novel electrical stimulation approach that directly controls the activity of the brain to attain a more stable state from which seizures will not arise. By continuously controlling the activity of epileptogenic brain areas with distributed low-voltage stimulation, the researchers have shown that small arrays of multiple electrodes can completely suppress epileptic activity in cultured brain tissue. They hope to maintain the brain in a seizure-free or seizure-resistant state, therefore bypassing the need to detect or prevent seizures, and are investigating this treatment in animal models of epilepsy. Funding for this program was made possible in part through a gift from the Patricia Bowman Terwilliger Family Foundation Charitable Trust.

Gregory A. Worrell, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, received a grant to develop an electrophysiology platform for multi-scale EEG and stimulation experiments. Dr. Worrell and his research team have developed an electroencephalography (EEG) recording and stimulation approach that facilitates investigation across the range of spatiotemporal scales involved in the generation of seizures. They have recently identified a novel electrographic signature of epileptogenic brain that falls outside the spatiotemporal range of conventional intracranial EEG, and that may represent a precursor of seizure generation. They anticipate that their multi-scale EEG and stimulation approach will improve the efficacy of epilepsy surgery and therapeutic brain stimulation.

James C. Cloyd, PharmD, Professor and Director, Epilepsy Research & Education Program, University of Minnesota, is the recipient of a grant to pursue the development of an intravenous (IV) formulation of topiramate to bring a well-established and effective medication to a new therapeutic indication: neonatal seizures. Neonatal seizures, for which there are limited therapeutic options, can result in impairment in development, cognition and potentially harmful side effects to the developing brain. Laboratory studies offer compelling evidence that topiramate, an effective anti-epileptic drug with a good safety record in children over two years of age and adults, could substantially improve the management of seizures in newborn infants. An IV formulation would be required to treat neonates because of the need to precisely control drug concentrations, and no IV topiramate currently exists.

"The opportunity to support the projects funded with today's awards is exciting because these therapies could provide hope for patients with epilepsy and their caregivers in the very near future," said Eric R. Hargis, Epilepsy Foundation President and CEO. These projects will offer more therapy options to prevent seizures before they occur. We proudly applaud our grant recipients."

"I believe these three research projects represent the essence of translational research and the focus of all three of the foundations that have come together to form this grant program. The results of each study have the potential to be translated directly into improved patient care in the near term," said Orrin Devinsky, M.D, Founder of Finding A Cure for Epilepsy & Seizures (FACES). "We are very pleased to have selected these promising studies for our support."

Grant Opportunity: September 1, 2007 Deadline

The ERF is requesting proposals for its New Therapy Grants Program from scientific and clinical investigators pursuing innovative projects that demonstrate a clear path to commercialization. In addition, the Milken Family Foundation is requesting proposals for its Translational Research Award program designed to advance the development of novel therapies for the treatment of epilepsy. The grant proposal deadline for both programs is September 1, 2007. To view additional requirements, please visit www.epilepsyproject.org/grants.

About the Epilepsy Research Foundation

The Epilepsy Research Foundation was created to support the development of new, innovative translational research in producing new therapies and a cure for epilepsy. The organization was formed by the Epilepsy Therapy Development Project and the Epilepsy Foundation and includes support from Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES). All money raised goes directly toward highly promising research projects that can be fast tracked in the fight against seizures. For further information, or to contribute, please visit www.epilepsytdp.org, www.epilepsyfoundation.org, or contact the Epilepsy Research Foundation at 800-470-1655.

About the Epilepsy Foundation

The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against epilepsy since 1968. The Foundation's goals are to ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; and to prevent, control and cure epilepsy through research, education, advocacy and services. For additional information, please visit www.epilepsyfoundation.org or 1-888-Epilepsy.

About the Epilepsy Therapy Development Project

The Epilepsy Therapy Development Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance new therapies for people living with epilepsy. Founded in 2002 by a group of parents, distinguished physicians and researchers, the Epilepsy Therapy Development Project supports the commercialization of new therapies through direct grants and investments in promising academic and commercial projects. The organization has raised over five million dollars towards its mission. For more information, visit www.epilepsytdp.org.


Finding A Cure for Epilepsy & Seizures (FACES) is a non-profit organization which is part of the NYU Medical Center and its Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. Founded in 1996 by Orrin Devinsky, M.D., Director of the NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, FACES' mission is to improve the quality of life for all people affected by epilepsy through research, education and awareness, and community-building events. For further information, please visit www.nyufaces.org or 212-871-0245. .

CONTACT: The Epilepsy Therapy Development Project Kim Macher, 540-687-8077 or Epilepsy Foundation Kimberli Meadows, 301-918-3747 or FACES Valerie Lusczek, 212-871-0245 x105 or BCC Partners Nan Foster, 415-307-6955 or Susan Pietropaolo, 845-638-6290


Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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