Inset photo: Workshop speakers, from left Dr Matthew Walker, Prof Giuliano Avanzini, Dr Holger Lerche, Prof Emilio Perucca, and Dr Thomas Sander.
8th European Congress on Epileptology, Berlin 2008
Report by Janet Mifsud
Sixth Framework Programme Project LSH 037315
A workshop organised at the 8th European Congress on Epileptology, in Berlin in September provided a great opportunity for the latest developments and research results from the EPICURE project to be presented to other researchers. The main aims of this workshop were to promote the EPICURE initiative to the European scientific epilepsy community.
Prof Giuliano Avanzini related that EPICURE is an EU funded FP6 project which is bringing together a critical mass of EU researchers across Europe (over 30 partners), in order to co-ordinate efforts in the identification of the disease-causing genes of epilepsy and their functional role in the pathophysiology of neuronal excitability and network synchronization, using complementary advanced methods. With responsibility for dissemination of the project, IBE plays an important role in EPICURE.
The workshop speakers explained the various work packages being undertaken, and how EPICURE brings together expertise under five main subprojects, which are both clinical and laboratory-based, with the common goal of advancing European epilepsy research, in order to bring about novel therapeutic benefits to patients.
Dr Thomas Sander outlined the research being carried out on the genetics of human epilepsies, while Dr Holger Lerche gave an overview of the research being carried out on the functional analysis of ion channel mutations in genetic epilepsies and pharmacoresistance. Dr Matthew Walker described the work in the work package looking at acquired channelopathies and loss of control excitation, while Prof Emilio Perucca explained how this basic work will be used to devise new possible therapies for refractory epilepsy.
The workshop clearly showed how excellent results can be achieved if there is central coordination, which will promote cross-fertilization and synergistic effects in epilepsy research in Europe.
Innovation aspects of the project include interactions and synergies between industrial and academic laboratories, by the inclusion of SME participation in the development of improved diagnostic use of contrast agents for MRI investigations, the use of high resolution imaging techniques, and identification of new therapeutic targets and proof of principles for innovative therapy.
Over 100 participants took an active part in the workshop and several questions were put to the speakers by members of the audience.
Funded by the European Union Sixth Framework Programme
Project LSH 037315