The 29 partners to the EPICURE Research Project, funded by the European Union Sixth Framework Programme Project LSH 037315, held the 2nd EPICURE annual meeting in Valetta, Malta from 10th to the 13th January 2008.
An important element of the meeting was reporting by the partners to three EU officials who were present to assess progress on this major initiative. As a partner in this important project, IBE has the task of dissemination and promotion of the project. IBE President Susanne Lund was at the meeting to present a report on the promotion of EPICURE that the Bureau had undertaken in the course of the last 12 months. EPICURE had been reported on and promoted:
- In the International Epilepsy News
- At the 1st East Mediterranean Epilepsy Congress in Luxor, February 2007
- At the 27th International Epilepsy Congress in Singapore, July 2007
- Through the use of flyers and Press Releases circulated to members and supporters
- Through the dedicated pages on the IBE website.
IBE looks forward to continuing its role in EPICURE as the project progresses over the coming 4 years.
As many as 6 million people in Europe have active epilepsy with associated implications not only for their health but for independent living, education and employment, mobility, relationships, and insurance. The resulting economic burden has been estimated at 18 billion euro annually (European White Paper on Epilepsy 2001). Although the European epileptological community has an important tradition of scientific research, according to the conclusions of the European White Paper on Epilepsy (2001), it lacks central coordination. Epidemiological observations have led to the consensus that genetic factors play a central role, especially in the so-called idiopathic generalized epilepsies, and that maladaptive developmental processes also contribute to epileptogenesis (the development of epilepsy).
Precisely what genetic factors are involved, and how they interact with developmental alterations, remains far from established. Moreover, their implication for understanding the principle of drug and other treatments of epilepsy is poorly understood.
EPICURE is mobilising the potential synergies of European research groups to find answers to these questions. EPICURE aims in particular to take advantage of the potentially powerful insights into pathophysiological pathways provided by genetics both by identifying disease-causing genes and by understanding the contribution of candidate genes to pharmacoresistance.