Epilepsy Research Foundation Announces Translational Research Funding Awards
Funds Support Development of Imaging Agent and Potential Potent Epilepsy Drug
New York, NY
May 22, 2006
New York, NY, May 22, 2006 – The Epilepsy Research Foundation, a collaboration of several non-profit organizations, and a supporting organization of the Epilepsy Foundation and the Epilepsy Therapy Development Project today announced two recipients of translational research funds totaling $190,000 for work to advance a promising and potent new epilepsy drug, and for the development of an imaging contrast agent that for the first time will make epileptogenic tissue visible to MRI.
The Epilepsy Research Foundation, a coalition comprised of the Epilepsy Therapy Development Project, the Epilepsy Foundation, and Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES), is dedicated to the discovery and development of more effective therapies and finding a cure for the fifty million children and adults around the world, including nearly three million in the U.S., who suffer from this common neurological disorder. Coalition support focuses on research projects with the potential for high-impact, near-term patient benefits.
“About one in three, or one million people with epilepsy in this country face persistent seizures, or significant treatment side effects as the price for seizure control, despite available therapies,” said William Braunlich, President of the Epilepsy Therapy Development Project. “The projects funded with today’s awards show great potential for improving the surgical and pharmacological treatment of the disorder. The equity investment in NeuroGenomeX, our first such investment, reflects our enthusiasm for its scientific team and the exceptional promise in their novel epilepsy drug.”
“The current potential in epilepsy research and this convergence of support from organizations with a common goal of eliminating seizures and epilepsy is unprecedented,” said Eric R. Hargis, Epilepsy Foundation President and CEO. “The opportunity to support projects like UCLA’s research of the first epilepsy specific contrast agent is most exciting as it could answer the critical need for greater neurosurgical accuracy and success in patients with epilepsy.”
Recipients of the Spring 2006 Epilepsy Research Foundation Funds
Massoud Akhtari, Ph.D., Semel Institutes of Neuropsychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine, received a grant to pursue research with a newly synthesized epilepsy-specific contrast agent for use in improving surgical outcomes. This agent is being developed to selectively tag epileptic brain tissues through MRI imaging. The goal of this project is to provide an opportunity for improved and more accessible surgical therapy for epilepsy through proper localization of epileptic tissues. In addition, this method would enable the monitoring of epilepsies in an effort to identify markers of epileptogenicity and epileptogenesis. Currently no epilepsy-specific contrast agent exists for MRI imaging.
Tom Sutula, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurology, University of Wisconsin and Chief Technical Officer, NeuroGenomeX, Inc. a new neurogenomic sciences company discovering and developing new drug targets for the treatment of disorders associated with neuronal plasticity (www.neurogenomex.com), has been selected to receive an equity investment, to advance the development of 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG), a glucose analog used for decades as an image tracer, as a novel anticonvulsant and disease-modifying treatment for epilepsy. 2DG was recently discovered to have potent acute anticonvulsant and chronic antiepileptic actions including protection against seizure-induced functional alterations in neural circuits. This study is part of a larger preclinical investigation anticipated to result in an Investigational New Drug application before the end of 2007.
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.
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.
FACES is a non-profit organization affiliated with the NYU 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.